Last month, the Public Works Department (PWD) planted 200 saplings on the divider on the 800m stretch on Bhishma Pitamah Marg, which runs along busy areas of Defence Colony and Kotla. However, the saplings are withering away now. Locals say the plants have dried up as the Public Works Department (PWD) failed to water them. Besides, there is no iron railing to restrict the entry of animals and people. The department had planted air-purifying plants like neem, pipal and jamun. These trees not only absorb dust, they also improve the quality of air faster. Apart from the absence of a barrier on the divider, there is also a problem of loose soil. As the plants are not watered regularly, the top soil has dried and loosened. This dust troubles pedestrians and motorists.
“The agency keeps planting trees after every six months, but they fail to safeguard them. The authorities are just wasting public money. By far, these drives have not yielded fruitful results,” said Roshan Saini, a resident of Kotla.
According to the residents, the only time the greenery on dividers was properly maintained was during the 2010 Commonwealth Games. After that, no agency bothered to maintain the plants. “Utmost care is needed to create a green belt on the central verges. Just planting the saplings is not enough, trees require proper care. They need to be watered, weeded, pruned and looked after until the green cover is formed,” said Neelam Rohmetra, an environmental expert.
Besides, locals claim the divider has not been planned and executed accurately. “There is no gap in the median or a proper way to cross the road. Thus, most people end up trampling the plants on the divider. Authorities keep introducing the plantation project over and over again. If only once the green cover was maintained properly, the tax payer’s money won’t go waste,” said Vinay Khanna, a resident of the area.
A senior PWD official agreed to the problem. He said: “The beautification project of this divider is underway and will be completed soon.” He said most of the saplings that have been planted are ornamental, to beautify the landscape.