Metro agency speeds up tree planting mission

KOCHI: The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) is drafting a “consultative tree planting plan” and has identified about 10 locations in the city to plant saplings.

The agency, which is drafting the project along with the district tree cutting permit issuing committee, environmentalists and other green agencies, will soon implement the project.

KMRL managing director Elias George said that they have approached various agencies which own roads and parks to grant required sanctions for beginning the planting process. “The aim is to launch tree planting on Sahodharan Ayyappan Road. KMRL hopes to start the work by January,” he said.

The Metro agency has speeded up the drafting process following the statement issued by the tree cutting committee that it would not provide further permits to cut trees unless KMRL implemented a project for caring and nurturing saplings.

KMRL has also taken up the responsibility of fabricating about three lakh tree guards. They will also rope in an agency to ensure that the seedlings are nurtured. “KMRL will sign a tree contract with the agency. Once we complete the bidding process for appointing the agency and obtain the required tree guards, we expect to launch the planting work,” said George.

The total cost required for the project would be ascertained after awarding the contract.

The Metro agency will have to spend at least Rs 750 for each tree guard. Meanwhile, the district tree cutting permit issuing committee member S Sitaraman said that KMRL has given an assurance that they would “provide a substantial amount” of money to carry out tree planting. “Surveys are being done to identify areas and also to spot places where saplings can be planted. The focus will be on planting fruit bearing trees, which have long life and are sustainable,” he said. In the initial stage about 500 saplings will be planted in the available space.

While trees such as jackfruit, mango, jamun, blackboard tree (Paala), pongamia, peltophorum will be planted in places where larger areas are available, tress such as golden shower tree (kanikonna) will be planted along congested and busy roads.