Vertical gardens to get a fresh lease of life

Most vertical gardens and medians beneath the Kochi metro corridor are in a bad state. A scene from M.G. Road.   | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

Every sixth pillar in the Kochi Metro corridor will come alive with a tastefully done-up vertical garden, if everything works out as planned, sources in Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) said.

The metro agency has been facing considerable flak for tardy upkeep of medians beneath the 25-km metro corridor and for not readying vertical gardens in 200 pillars, as had been promised.

KMRL’s assurance on landscaping the medians and vertical gardens atop pillars dates back to 2017, when the metro’s 12-km-long Aluva-Palarivattom stretch was commissioned. But vertical gardens were largely limited to pillars near metro stations alone, while almost all pillars were handed over to an agency for placing illuminated advertisement boards, an initiative to garner revenue from non-ticketing sources.

Most vertical gardens have withered for want of upkeep. The metro agency attributed this to inadequate funds for their installation and upkeep. Most other metro systems in India have substantial number of vertical gardens to enliven metro viaducts.

It was estimated that the vertical gardens would need 3,000 tonnes of compost generated from municipal waste, each year. Much more quantity of compost can be scientifically used for landscaping medians on the 25-km-long Aluva-Pettah stretch and to nurture herbs and shrubs in the space. These horizontal and vertical greenery will in turn improve the aesthetics in the metro corridor, while also preventing dust emanating from within the medians.

A contractor who had been entrusted with the installation and upkeep of vertical gardens gave up on it in 2019, citing high cost. The upkeep of existing ones and readying of new ones every sixth pillar might be handed over to the firm which places advertisement boards on the pillars, metro sources said.

The entire system is being reworked, including by handing over the upkeep of individual medians to shops and other commercial establishments on either side of the metro corridor. This is working out well on M.G. Road and Banerjee Road, where they are permitted to erect boards mentioning the establishments’ names.

The firm which had been entrusted with the landscaping of medians on M.G. Road using dry leaves and pruned branches of trees as the medium of compost has, in the meantime, sought allocation of more medians to them.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 10:41:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/vertical-gardens-to-get-a-fresh-lease-of-life/article34353794.ece

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