Plants on a road divider in Nellore city
Plants on a road divider in Nellore city

 Nellore: Even though the state government has been promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in tourism, education sectors and in urban local bodies for taking up projects without much burden on government wings, Nellore Municipal Corporation has been following traditional nomination system for allocating works by spending huge money on city greenery. 

Highlights:

  • Allocates works on nomination basis for planting saplings on central dividers    
  • Rs 1.5 crore worth works sanctioned to contractors on the recommendations of political leaders
  • Civic body can rope in industrial units for taking up city greenery as part of CSR activity, opine residents 
The civic body planned to raise greenery in central dividers on par with other cities across the state at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore.   The civic officials approved works at various places for planting saplings on the central dividers up to 18 kilometres in city limits.

 The greenery works were proposed from Bujabuja Nellore Junction to Atmakur Bus Stand Centre in one section. In another section, works will be taken up from Ayyappa Temple to Atmakur Bus Stand flyover and Padarupalli Junction to Atmakur Bus Stand Centre in the third section. Santhapet to railway station and from Siri Multiplex to Nartaki Centre will be the fourth section where huge plantation drive being taken up.

The Andhra Pradesh Urban Greening and Beautification Corporation Limited (APUG&BC) suggested planting saplings of Bougainvillea, Ficus Black, Ficus Gold on the central dividers as they survive in local conditions. 

The Corporation had fixed a cost of Rs 16.13 paisa per one sapling for its maintenance per month. The plan was to attract sightseers and others, who visit the city. But, middlemen and contractors grabbed works on nomination basis with the support of political leaders and influencing officials in the civic body. Fourteen works worth Rs 1.5 crore were handed over to contractors for planting saplings and maintenance.

Residents opined that there are many organisations like Krishnapatnam Port, thermal power plants, industries in Kisan SEZ, nationalized banks and many other industrial units which are ready to provide funding as part of their CSR activity and this can be taken up involving district administration. 

But, officials of civic body have cancelled works and sanctioned them again with fresh bid. A corporator reportedly involved in works in the name of a contractor. Previously, Rs 4 lakh was spent for planting saplings and maintenance of 0.5 km between Kondayapalem and Rajeswari Temple. Now, the civic officials have sanctioned Rs 10 lakh for the same work. There are many such examples in sanctioning of works.

Even, the APUG&BC has also deputed two employees to the district for monitoring these works. A senior official from the concerned wing said they had completed more than 90 per cent works of planting saplings in all existing dividers and the remaining works are in full swing. He denied to comment on the ongoing works. 

By P V Prasad