Soon, flowering trees to line Karol Bagh’s Ajmal Khan Road in Delhi
The newly pedestrianised Ajmal Khan Road in Karol Bagh would soon be adorned with rosy trumpet tree — a species native to Central America , which gets covered with light pink flowers bearing a yellow throat during its winter flowering season, quite like the Japanese cherry blossoms.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation will plant at least 75 of these on the median of the almost two-kilometre stretch of Ajmal Khan Road, as per plans of the civic body’s horticulture department.
An equal number of Indian native saptparni or Scholar Tree, which blossom in autumn and are known for their tiny white and green flowers that are intensely fragrant, will also be planted here.
Ajmal Khan Road was freed from encroachments, haphazard parking before being pedestrianised by the north Delhi corporation in May. Its median — currently marked by yellow painted strips only — has benches, garden lamps, and pots in the place where 150 trees are planned. Digging of about one metre by one metre size pits for the trees will begin soon.
“While selecting tree species for Ajmal Khan Road, we felt we should have one deciduous (trees which seasonally shed leaves) and one evergreen (which retain majority of its leaves year-long) tree each. This is so that shoppers on Ajmal Khan Road can enjoy both shade in summer and sunshine under the trees in fall and winters,” said Ashish Priyadarshi, director of the north body’s horticulture department. Rosy trumpet tree or Tabebuia rosea is semi-deciduous while saptparni or Alstonia scholaris is evergreen.
“Our other considerations were that the trees should be fast growing, have a good height so people are unable to pluck flowers or vandalise them, and yet the canopies shouldn’t be so huge that they reach the shops on either side of the median,” said Anuj Malhotra, knowledge partner with the Union ministry of home affairs, who is assisting north corporation in the project.
Experts said both the trees are a good choice as they grow well in Delhi’s rough climatic conditions. “While the rosy trumpet is rarely seen in Delhi, saptaparni is found here in large numbers. They are hardy trees and don’t need much care,” said Vijay Pal Singh, former horticulture director of CPWD.
“If the road has already been made vehicle-free, then the pollution levels would be less and the trees will have a better chance of survival,” said KS Rao, head of Botany department, DU.
Besides this, the civic body is also planning to upgrade eight parks on either side of Ajmal Khan Road so that shoppers can rest here.
“These are colony parks but big enough. We will plant more shrubs here; install swings for kids, open gyms, benches and water ATMs. We will also ensure better illumination so that women feel safe,” said Pradeep Bansal, chief engineer with the north corporation.
Priyadarshi said the corporation will anyway be doing a monsoon plantation of 25,000 saplings in July-August of all native trees such as peepal, pilkhan, neem, jamun and bargad, among others, across the 605 square kilometre area of the capital that they govern. “Hence we thought, why not go for a showy flowering American tree on Ajmal Khan Road which is a showcase street for us,” he explained.