ONGOLE: Withered plants greet the vehicles plying on the four-lane Chennai-Kolkata National Highway No 5 between Ongole and Medaramitla.
The prospect of widening the highway to six lanes has literally sounded death knell to plantations made along it.
Social forestry department planted flowering bearing plants on the road divider and other species along the road over 60 km in the district, maintained them for two years and handed them over to Highways Department for further maintenance.
The Highways Department is taking all care to water and prune the flowering bearing plants on the divider. But it neglected maintenance of the other trees planted on the road margins. Reason?
The government now proposes to widen the highway to six lanes in Vijayawada-Chilakaluripet-Ongole-Nellore sector.
As widening would necessitate removal of the plants on the road margins, the Highways Department stopped watering them for the last one year. In this autumn season, the plants shed their leaves betraying their gloomy prospect of felling.
Hundreds of trees, aged between 50-100 years, were felled when the road was widened to four lanes during last decade.
Now the trees that were planted three or four years ago faced the same prospect, thanks to widening the highway to six lanes.