City residents can soon dial up the Corporation office for assistance to maintain a lawn or garden.

The Corporation is working on a proposal to equip women attached to Kudumbasree units with training and tools to take up garden maintenance work. The local body has established a nursery in the Nanthancode ward with the help of a Kudumbasree unit. Equipped with stocks of potted plants and saplings of ornamental plants, fruit trees and medicinal herbs, the nursery is awaiting inauguration. Efforts are on to constitute a local advisory committee to maintain the unit.

“Our objective is to provide quality planting material at affordable price,” says Palayam Rajan, ward councillor. The nursery is staffed by 15 Kudumbasree workers who have been trained by the Kerala Agri Horticulture Society. “We have also provided them with tool kits,” says Rajan.

Named Nandanam, the nursery will be a sales outlet for saplings grown at the mother units scheduled to come up at Ambalathara, Mannamoola and Kulathoor as a joint venture between the Corporation and the Kerala Agricultural University.

Residents in the neighbourhood of the nursery are happy that the facility has come up on a site that was an eyesore and the curse of the locality till very recently. Measuring just 4.75 cents, the plot initially housed a public comfort station that was demolished after it fell into disuse. The vacant land soon turned into a dumping ground for garbage.

“The turnaround happened after we launched a campaign to turn the ward into a garbage free zone,” recalls Mr. Rajan. “When the accumulated garbage was carted away, we thought of putting the plot to good use. That is when the idea of a nursery cropped up.”

Established at a cost of Rs.8 lakh, the nursery sports a greenhouse, pond with fountain, lawn, garden lights and a stepped gallery to exhibit potted plants. An open well provides water for irrigating the garden. “There was no scope for constructing a pucca building because the road in front is proposed to be widened.”

Tie-up plan

Most of the saplings exhibited in the nursery were procured from the Kerala Agri Horticulture Society at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds while some were grafted by the women. “We have plans to tie up with the Kerala Agricultural University and Department of Agriculture, once the facility becomes fully operational. By then, the nursery will be the main source of supply of saplings to the public parks maintained by the Corporation. The Kudumbasree workers will be equipped to take up garden maintenance works at competitive rate,” Mr. Rajan said. The Corporation is trying to finalise an agreement with the Kerala Horticulture Mission also for supply of vegetable seeds and saplings.

Meanwhile, the nursery has started sale of saplings and potted plants. “We manage a business of about Rs.2,000 per day. Flowering plants, medicinal herbs and banana are in good demand,” says Ms. Lekha, who heads the Kudumbasree unit in charge of the facility.