Droopy plants, lifeless trees, tall grasses, broken swings for children and dismantled benches, the green belts in one of the most polluted cities of India have merely reduced to a patch of land with the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and forest department shifting blames for their maintenance.
Green belts on both sides of the main roads and internal areas of the city are poorly maintained with dry droopy plants and lack of proper landscaping providing no relief to city residents from pollution.
This despite the fact that the MC in its budget allocation of 2013-14 earmarked Rs 48 crore for horticulture department and also invited common people and NGOs to volunteer for maintaining the parks and green belts in the city.
Green belts situated on Ferozepur Road, outside Government College for Girls, Jalandhar bypass, Old GT road, Shingar Road and others are in dismal state with no landscaping and lush greenery. The MC has even failed to maintain the green belt adjoining its Zone D office in Sarabha Nagar presenting a poor picture to the visitors and residents.
Meanwhile, the councilors fed up from the negligent attitude of the horticulture department are questioning the usage of Rs 48 crore that was allocated for the purpose. Gurpreet Gogi, councilor Ghumar mandi area, said, “The green belt of Ferozepur Road falls in my area and despite repeated requests neither the forest department or the MC has done anything about it. We got some swings installed with our own efforts but now nothing is done to maintain them. Even advertising companies who install hoardings should maintain them. Now the place has become an hub for drug addicts.” He said, “Even after the allocation of Rs 48 crore, MC has no money to pay for saplings. I spend from my pocket to buy plants.”
Councillors also complained that horticulture officers are indifferent to the situation. Inder Aggarwal, BJP councilor from ward 18 said, “There have been no surveys by the horticulture officers to identify areas for plantation. Whenever they are called to send gardeners for watering the plants, they either do not receive the phone or make an excuse of staff shortage. There is no transparency to show where the funds went and the horticulture department behaves as if they are not even a part of MC.”