Tree guards and fresh saplings rekindle hope for Kalanki-Koteshwor road greenery projectLalitpur mayor offers Rs 6 million—a budget allocated to buy him car—to purchase two tankers to water the saplings.
After widespread criticism from the public sphere, the Ministry of Forest and Environment, in association with other stakeholders, has replaced dying plants with fresh saplings and installed tree guards on existing saplings alongside the 10.5km Kalanki-Koteshwor stretch.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, on June 29, had inaugurated a nationwide tree plantation programme along the Kalanki-Koteshwor stretch with great fanfare; however, after the plantation, neither the government authorities nor any stakeholders had taken responsibility in taking care of the dying saplings. Because of the lack of watering and regular supervision, the plants had started to die. The absence of tree guards had also led to many plants being uprooted.
“I guess it’s because of media coverage and public outrage in social media that authorities have started installing tree guards,” said Santa Bahadur Maharjan, 65, a resident of Dhobighat.
“If the public helps keep the government in check, then the authority will be forced to be more accountable,” said Maharjan, who was quite happy to see three guards.
The project of installing of tree guards and planting new saplings is being carried out
by the ministry, in coordination with the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation, National Trust for Nature Conservation, Bird Conservation Nepal including other organisations and clubs.
“We have replaced all the dying plants. Also, all the plants have been covered with tree guards now,” says Sindhu Prasad Dhungana, a joint secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Environment. “We are also committed to watering the plants on a regular basis; many organisations have also shown an interest in preserving these saplings,” said Dhungana.
The Lalitpur Metropolitan City has also pledged responsibility to take care of the saplings planted by the government. When asked about the dying plants, Chiri Babu Maharjan, mayor of the City, said, “Out of the 10.5 km road section, 7.9km section falls under LMC. I have handed Rs 6 million to buy two water tankers to water the plants along the highway. This is the money that was allocated to buy me a vehicle, but at this hour, water tanker is more important,” said Maharjan.
Last month to mark the National Plantation Day the Ministry of Forest and Environment, at the initiative of Rajendra KC, deputy director of the ministry, had planted a total of 2,681 saplings of nine different species along the newly constructed Kalanki-Koteshwor road section.
According to ministry officials, the cost of each plant is around Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000, which means at least Rs13.4 million was spent on the plantation project along the stretch.
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