Agency yet to keep its assurance of setting up 200 vertical gardens
Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has rolled out an innovative scheme to maintain medians beneath the metro viaduct and vertical gardens in good condition after coming under fire for their “tardy” upkeep.
The agency has spruced up a one-metre-wide median beneath the metro viaduct at Padma Junction and landscaped it. “We have used biowaste and sledge collected from Andhakarathodu at Thripunithura as the planting medium,” said KMRL sources.
It is a pilot project and will be extended to other areas if found viable. The advantage is three-fold. The area beneath the corridor will remain green with flowering and other plants. Canals will be cleaner and deeper since huge volumes of biowaste will be required for the 25-km-long metro corridor between Aluva and Pettah. This apart, issues like difficulty in finding space to dump waste can be solved to a large extent, they added.
At present, most medians are in a deplorable condition, with some strewn with debris and waste. Others have weeds and dried-up plants. Apart from being eyesores, they worsen dust on the metro corridor, not to mention the difficulty faced by pedestrians while crossing the road.
All this points to the need to landscape all medians under the viaduct, an assurance that KMRL gave prior to commissioning the metro in 2017. “The high cost of maintaining medians and vertical gardens is dissuading us from preparing any grandiose plan. The expense of watering plants at Edappally Junction alone is ₹1 lakh per month. Sponsors are tough to find since most companies have cut down on expenses post-flood. Our attention is now on extending the metro up to Pettah and to increase ridership,” a senior metro official said.
KMRL’s assurance that a vertical garden will adorn every sixth metro pillar (or over 200 in the corridor) too is yet to come to fruition, reportedly due to inadequate funds. Subsequently, advertisements have been placed on the pillars.
The cost of installing a four-metre-tall and 10-feet-wide vertical garden and maintaining it for a year alone works out to around ₹75,000. Vertical gardens are now confined to two pillars beneath each metro station. Not all of them are in good condition thanks to inadequate upkeep.