Transplanted from nurseries to Noida’s Bhim Rao Ambedkar Memorial Park, the Royal Indian Bottle Palm trees with their grey bark and deep green stem stood tall once.
But 10 months after they were shifted to the controversial park, they look nothing more than shriveled stubs.
Sixty of them, planted across a rectangular strip adjoining the Park’s entrance, are dead.
The Noida Authority — responsible for the project’s maintenance — recently decided to replace the “dead trees with fresh ones”.
But the option would have been easier to exercise in some other park and not this one, said a senior official of the Noida Authority who oversees the park’s maintenance but requested anonymity since he is not authorised to talk to the media.
“We will, within three-four days, replace the dead trees with trees of exactly the same species and of the same height, to maintain the status quo as per the Supreme Court’s order. It’s complicated but we will do it,” the official told HT.
Construction at the park — a Rs 685-crore project launched by the Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government — has been in abeyance since October 2009 as per the directions of the Supreme Court since the park allegedly lacks key environmental clearances from the Centre.
The apex court had, however, allowed the Authority to continue with the horticulture work at the park, thus empowering it to replace the dead trees.
Last June, in a bid to compensate for the hacking of 6,003 soft wood trees at the park, the Authority had planted/transplanted 1.42 lakh trees/plants there, the official said.
The dead palm trees, having a height of 18-21 feet, were from a group of 3,329, according to documents submitted to the apex court (HT has a copy).
Barring the strip of land containing the dead trees, the park was draped in lush green, when HT visited the spot.
The authority has pressed into action a team of around 80 gardeners, along with senior officers and gardening tools, such as sprinklers, to look after the flora that includes orchards of fruits such as mango (30 trees), black berry (3, 300), Litchi (2, 505 trees) and custard apple (2, 100 trees).