THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: If things go as planned, the one-km stretch of the four-lane Sasthamangalam-Vellayambalam Road will get avenue trees. On the request of film star Suresh Gopi, who took the responsibility of bringing saplings from Bangalore, officials of PWD, Kerala State Road Fund Board, TRDCL and KSEB officials met here on Tuesday. PWD Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju attended the meeting. As electric lines were cited as a hurdle for planting trees, the meeting took the decision to conduct a feasibility study on installing underground cables on this stretch. The KSEB will prepare a detailed project report soon.
Currently, the Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL) has planted Bohemia trees along this stretch. However, Bohemia trees, which are short compared to other trees, cannot provide enough shade to pedestrians. Suresh Gopi said: “If everything goes well, we could plant the saplings during the rainy season. Unlike the flowering trees in Bangalore, the pollens of which are allergic, we will plant shady trees such as Fungemia pinnacca, which is commonly seen is Singapore and Malaysia.”
Suresh Gopi had ordered a set of trees from Bangalore earlier. “There was inordinate delay and the saplings have became trees now. Now I have ordered a fresh set of saplings,” he said.
The actor had contacted Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed last month regarding the issue. “I got a positive response from him. Now, this meeting has decided to study the possibility of laying underground cables without digging the existing footpaths,” he said.
Road Fund Board project engineer Madhava Pillai said the decision on the number of trees to be planted will be taken after the KSEB submits the feasibility report.
Anil Kumar Pandala, project director of the City Road Improvement Project (CRIP), said that TRDCL had plans to plant big trees, but the electric cables were a hindrance. “The KSEB officials had cut the branches of trees on the Pettah-Chakkai stretch and VJT-Palayam stretch as they came in contact with electric lines. If the city gets more underground cables, there will be more stretches like the Kowdiar-Vellayambalam road,” he said.
Kowdiar-Vellayambalam stretch has underground cables and the stretch has bigger trees on the roadsides.
Most of the Bohemia trees (‘mandaram’) planted on the Sasthamangalam-Vellayambalam stretch almost a year ago are bearing violet flowers now. The TRDCL had planted as many as 52 trees on the road. Bohemia was planted in lieu of the trees cut down as part of the road-widening works.
With the contribution of actor Suresh Gopi, KRFB and PWD are planning to plant more trees on the stretch. TRDCL, so far, has planted 1,100 trees in the city so far. The company is also in the process of conducting a census of trees planted in the city. “We will also collect photographs of each tree,” said Anil Kumar Pandala.