HYDERABAD: Go urban green is the new motto of AP chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. With the aim of developing green cover on a par with Kerala and Karnataka, Naidu has decided to set up a separate body — AP Urban Greening and Beautification Corporation — whose mission would be to develop about 1,800 parks across the urban areas of the state.
The corporation will have a seed capital of Rs 50 crore and will be provided with Rs 200 crore every year. "It will ensure that AP competes with Kerala and Karnataka in attracting large number of tourists as well as bring in new investments," said sources.
According to municipal administration officials, Andhra Pradesh has large tracts of vacant urban land which is underexploited and which can be put to economically viable and environmentally sustainable uses. "These tracts of land can be potentially utilized for different purposes such as transportation, recreation, commercial, environmental and welfare activities.
To realize the objective of greening and beautification of urban areas, a separate organisation is being set up," they said.
The corporation will not only ensure that beautification projects come up in the state on the lines of those in Karnataka and Kerala, but will also act as vehicles to reduce urban pollution. Naidu has directed the urban development officials to identify urban municipal vacant land to develop parks, green zones, herbal plantations and playgrounds within urban areas.
"In the first phase, 145 major parks and 855 colony parks are being proposed to be developed by the AP Urban Greening and Beautification Corporation (APUGBC). Of the Rs 50 crore seed capital, Rs 25 crore will be the grant and the remaining Rs 25 crore given on a loan basis to be repaid after fifteen years at an interest of 8 per cent", said MAUD sources.
In 13 major municipal corporations, the APUGBC will develop 26 major parks and 260 colony parks and in the 11 special grade municipalities, 22 major parks and 110 colony parks will be developed. In the remaining municipalities, 61 major parks and 305 colony parks are being proposed to be taken up.
To realize the 'green dream,' Naidu has directed the MAUD officials to recruit specialists to take up the development of greenery and beautification of all urban areas.
In the first phase, it has been proposed to employ 38 officials in the corporation. They will comprise experts presently working in the forest and horticulture department who will be taken on deputation for a five-year period.
"The government has agreed to spend Rs 100 crore on landscape development, Rs 25 crore for open space beautification and Rs 65 crore for colony parks development," said an official in the finance department. As revenue generating measures, Naidu has directed the MAUD officials to concentrate on providing facilities in the parks like walkways, open lawns and food courts so that the maintenance costs are recovered, said the sources.