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Green drive at Thotlakonda

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Massive effort:Tribals carrying saplings for plantation at Thotlakonda in Visakhapatnam.
Massive effort:Tribals carrying saplings for plantation at Thotlakonda in Visakhapatnam.

Nivedita Ganguly

Over 15,000 saplings to be planted across 75 acres of hilly area

The VUDA project is supported by NTPC as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility

Some 65 tribals have been employed for the plantation project

VISAKHAPATNAM: The beautiful serene hills of Thotlakonda will soon get a rich green look once the plantation project taken up by VUDA gets over.

As part of the project, more than 15,000 saplings will be planted across 75 acres of the hilly area to give the popular tourist spot an evergreen look. The project that is supported by NTPC as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programmes is being developed at the cost of Rs.90 lakhs and is expected to be completed in the next three to four months.

Water harvesting

“This is the first place in the city to get such rich evergreen plant cover along the hills by employing scientific methods of water harvesting, integrated watershed management and trenching to ensure that the water percolates deep into the soil,” said B.V.A. Krishna Murty, DFO, VUDA, who is in charge of the project.

At Kailasagiri hill, ‘subabul' was planted extensively that not only lacked an evergreen look but also affected the growth of other indigenous plant species.

However, the plants used in the Thotlakonda project were scientifically selected to give the spot an evergreen look.

Some of the plant species planted in the Buddhist site included bamboo, banyan, peltophorum, gulmohar, neem and rain tree.

Some 65 tribals were employed from tribal areas of Koraput and Araku for the plantation project. “It requires special expertise to climb the hills for plantations.

These people are habituated to trek long distances and in climbing steep hills. They can easily identify these plant species and are familiar with methods of plantations,” Mr. Murty said.

With the recent spells of rain in the region, officials are hopeful of a fast growth of the plantations and a total bloom by the year-end.


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