Nellore: While grabbing the reserved sites of Municipal Corporation is the order of the day, residents of Sahiti Estates, an apartment building in Saraswathi Nagar at Dargamitta in Nellore city, are different. They have developed a reserve site of the civic body in their neighbourhood as a park using their own funds and planted different plants to represent 12 zodiac signs and 27 stars besides Lord Vishnu and Shiva among other deities.
Reserved sites are pieces of land left in the layouts for parks, playgrounds, reading rooms and other amenities.
Ten per cent of the land in every layout should be left to the civic body to develop the facilities. Most of the reserve sites are encroached either by realtors or people with a political background and it is a Herculean task for the civic body to protect the land.
Though the civic body took measures to guard such sites in prime localities by fencing or constructing compound walls, they hardly have any control over the reserved sites in the extension areas of the city.
In this backdrop, the residents of Sahithi Estates took the initiative and developed greenery as well as Nakshatra Vanam, Navagraha Vanam and Shiva Panchayata Vanam in the site situated in a prime locality close to Magunta Layout after the civic body gave the green signal.
An attempt by some unidentified people to grab the land before 2010 led the association to approach the Corporation.
Referring to reasons for growing plants to represent different stars and planets, one of the members of the residents association M. Rama Subhramanyam said
“Astrology suggests to plant, nurture and worship respective trees by individuals as per their star signs for significant growth and prosperity of the family. In olden days, temples and parks planted these trees in various geometrical combinations corresponding to circles, linear and elliptical lines, representing Sri Chakra and also Sudarshana Chakra.”
A retired assistant engineer in irrigation, Subhramanyam said that they have pooled nearly Rs 7 lakh to transform the site as a pleasant place with different trees. He credited the association members V. Krishna Reddy, V. Vallemma, Ganga Kanyakumari and J.V. Narayana Moorthy among others for their contributions to develop the place. He also thanked the area corporator Bobbala Srinivasa Yadav and civic body authorities.
Meanwhile Nellore Municipal Corporation K. Venkateswarlu said they are ready to offer reserve sites to such associations if they come forward to develop them as parks while appreciating the residents for their voluntary efforts in planting trees and taking care of the site. Speaking to this newspaper he admitted that it is a formidable task for them to protect the reserved sites.