Delhi launches ‘ambulance’ for trees (Lead)

February 5th, 2010 - 6:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Feb 5 (IANS) Equipped with water tanks, chain saws, tree pruners, sprayers and ladders, a unique ambulance for trees set out Friday to protect the green cover in the heart of the Indian capital.
The initiative was launched Friday by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who said she wanted the service to quickly extend from the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) zone to the entire city.

The NDMC is the smallest of three civil administration zones. It covers an area of only three percent of Delhi.

But it is among the greenest parts of the capital, with many trees older than independent India.

The first of the ambulances is fitted with a water tank of 5,500 liters. It carries equipment needed to keep the trees in shape — and glowing.

“The ambulances will be responsible for regular maintenance including trimming and removal of decayed branches to ensure their healthy life,” an NDMC official said.

The NDMC, whose area is home to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and most VIPs as well as most embassies, wants to ensure that roads and cemented pavements do not choke the roots of the trees.

Dikshit urged the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which oversees civic affairs in 96 percent of Delhi, to follow suit.

Delhi is one of India’s greenest metros with a tree cover of 300 sq km, or a fifth of its land area.

The NDMC has a total green area of 1,250 acres including six major gardens and five nurseries besides 981 parks in residential areas.

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