NDMC has a health plan for the green cover: a tree ambulance

In its annual budget presented on Tuesday,the New Delhi Municipal Council had something for all those “living” in its limits.

Written by Arpit Parashar | New Delhi | Published: February 11, 2009 1:19:51 am

In its annual budget presented on Tuesday,the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had something for all those “living” in its limits. While it announced several projects for its citizens,it did not forget the other “living beings”: plants and trees.

Through a first-ever project to be planned in India,the NDMC wants to take care of New Delhi’s green cover with a ‘tree ambulance’ equipped with all modern technologies.

“Just as those available for human beings in the city,we plan to have an ambulance for the plant population,” NDMC chairperson Parimal Rai said after the budget meeting. “There are many old trees and plants in the New Delhi area that need to be taken care of at regular intervals. The ambulance will be used for that purpose,” Rai added. The ambulance will also take care of any plant that is diseased or about to die due to neglect.

The project to acquire the ambulance,which will have basic facilities like manure reserves and chain-saws,is however only in the first stage of planning at present. “We plan to consult experts from the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI),” said Rai.

The council had planted around 12,000 saplings in the Central ridge last year. In addition,the Horticulture department developed herbal gardens at Talkatora Garden,Lodhi Garden and Safdarjung Madarsa nursery. Another herbal park will come up at Nehru Park this year.

The field-level staff,such as gardeners,were trained by experts from the IARI and FRI in 2008. While at least 300 gardeners are already trained,the NDMC now plans to send more for training.

Rai said: “It is important for the field-level staff to understand the needs of every tree and how to treat it. Watering and chopping off branches at regular intervals are extremely important.”

The council also plans to set up a nursery in the Yamuna Pushta area to develop a pool of at least one million potted plants at various places ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

“We want the city to be green and the trees in perfect health and such steps will be taken in the coming year on a priority basis,” Rai said.

To improve the sanitary conditions,the council has also decided to start door-to-door collection of segregated garbage. A pilot project was started in 10 residential colonies last year and the council now plans to extend it to other localities.

The NDMC will also procure two machines for mechanical sweeping of the roads. While the garbage collection system is done through non-governmental organisations,the sweeping machines will be operated by the council staff. “They will be imparted proper training. We will try to carry out the cleaning exercise at night,to avoid traffic disruptions,” Rai said.

The council also has plans to set up an integrated Municipal Waste Processing and Disposal Centre at Okhla,in collaboration with the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi,the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and a private concessionaire.

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