A panel of 10 botanists appointed by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will test the soil before planting any more saplings in the city.
They have already conducted a detailed survey defining the scope for plantation at several parks and squares.
Unlike before, the civic bosses this time have taken a more scientific approach towards fulfilling chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s dream of turning the city green.
“Conducting a survey before planting saplings is a more scientific and logical approach rather than just blindly going for it,” Debashis Kumar, member, mayor-in-council (parks and squares) told HT.
Kumar also alleged that random plantation of trees for years by previous Left Front government had proved disastrous, as many of those trees have been uprooted following storm and cyclones.
“KMC authorities were forced to set up a special disaster management team to remove such trees that can fall easily as these uprooted trunks cause traffic congestion,” the MMiC added.
According to senior technocrats attached with the plantation job, soil in Kolkata is suitable for a variety of trees.
Still just to be doubly sure, botanists would conduct a soil test before going ahead with plantation programmes.
The survey conducted at each of the 100 wards in the city in May had shown that there is a genuine requirement of 35,000 saplings this monsoon.
The municipal commissioner, Khalil Ahmed, however, aims to plant at least a lakh saplings this monsoon.
Reacting to this exaggerated target set by Ahmed, civic technocrats, associated with the plantation programme, say, “At the most we can manage to plant 50,000 – 60,000 saplings this year. However, if you consider roadside and median shrubs then it would cross the lakh mark.”
Many outdoor hoarding companies cut down trees at prominent spots in the city to make a space for billboards.
This in the process has affected the growth of saplings, added the civic staff.
Even saplings planted on the roadsides do not have a good survival rate not only because they are unscientifically planted but also due to pollutions, added senior civic engineers.