Chennai’s Rs 8-crore vertical gardens wilt, corporation says rodents to blame

When vertical gardens were set up in public places in Chennai in 2020, the city corporation had planned for their continuous maintenance and watering by using recycled sewage water.

Published: 20th June 2022 04:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2022 04:58 AM   |  A+A-

A decrepit vertical garden under Royapettah flyover | R Satish Babu

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  When vertical gardens were set up in public places in Chennai in 2020, the city corporation had planned for their continuous maintenance and watering by using recycled sewage water. The gardens, however, lie in tatters now, both literally and figuratively, due to rodents.

Almost all vertical gardens under 14 major bridges and flyovers in the city, installed at a cost of around `8 crore, are now in various stages of ruin. Large part of the gardens in Doveton, Royapettah, TTK Road, Sardar Patel Road and Adyar have withered away completely with empty holders bereft of plants. 

When the initiative was taken up in 2020, the city corporation had ordered plants, mostly ornamental, from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, for use in these gardens. However, in most locations now only pothos variety of plants (money plants) remain. Pothos is one of the cheapest ornamental plants that can be easily propagated through clipping and easy to maintain. However, even they have dried up in most vertical gardens. 

Senior corporation officials said tackling rodents has turned out to be a huge challenge in maintaining these gardens. Maintenance of these gardens was recently handed over to the respective zonal authorities. 
“The big challenges we anticipated were weather and watering of plants, but rodents are posing a bigger threat. We are taking several measures to counter them,” said a corporation official. 

To water these plants, plans were made to install separate sewage treatment plants that could draw water from nearest sewer lines and recycle them. However, according to official sources, many of these treatment plants are now kaput. 

“So, to tackle summer, arrangements are being made to use lorries to water these plants and those recently planted on road medians. We are taking steps to revive vertical gardens which had helped us to keep bridge pillars free of defacement,” said a zonal corporation official. 

Experts, however, say maintaining a vertical garden is fairly simple. “If you see private firms in Chennai, such vertical garden are maintained quite well. These are easy-to-grow ornamental plants that only need liquid fertilisers and regular watering. Rodents and weather should not inflict much damage to these plants,” said S Auromougame, a botanist.


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  • Sjothi

    When money is in the hands of people who do not know how to use them
    3 months ago reply
  • Murali

    Sarkaria commission fame rodents are back after decades. Now anything in their way will vanish. Wait and watch.
    3 months ago reply
  • NT

    Why is that all such govt schemes fail? they were poorly executed and were not maintained.. another example is the laying of paver blocks/granite slabs on the side twalks of the roads...No bloody offical from corporation oversee the execution of these jobs.. the same side walks are repaired or relaid every second year at a huge cost to the exchequer. The same work executed in the private properties of the same contractor/official / politician last a life time!!!
    3 months ago reply
  • Srini

    Goood money making schemes for govt. officials. No one cares after installed and money is collected
    3 months ago reply
    • Sugumaran

      People in these areas watched them going bad???
      3 months ago reply
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