Hyderabad: It may sound incredible, but it is true. Families looking for greenery in urban landscapes are ultimately ending up developing one of their own on their rooftops. In the din and bustle of Hyderabad, these green spaces are not only giving the city a serene touch, but also providing oxygen.
The urban environs of the twin cities are dotted with as many as 30,000 concrete structures turning green spaces. Residents are not only growing vegetables, but also fruit-bearing trees and ornamental plants.
This may be a leisure pursuit for many, but it is meeting the vegetable needs of people considerably. But, it is not confined to residential structures.
Many business complexes and hospitals are also growing roof gardens, giving their clients a delightful surrounding when they visit doctors or to make business deals.
Sarita Dental Clinic in Sainikpuri has a special waiting longue in the midst of serene settings covering its large balcony on the first floor. While children enjoy playing in the garden settings, grandparents vie for the shade of mango trees.
Plenty of such gardens have sprung up over the years in Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, SR Nagar, Mehdipatnam, Dilsukhnagar and other localities in Hyderabad.
Commissioner for Horticulture L Venkatram Reddy told Telangana Today that the Telangana government was making a conscious effort to promote urban farming, making use of whatever little space was available on rooftops.
The Department was organising training classes free of cost for those interested in taking up rooftop farming. Of late, it started providing a special kit, costing Rs 6,000 each at 50 per cent subsidy. The kit contains seeds, organic manure and sample soils used for growing different vegetables, among others.
There is a huge demand for the kits. People started preparing their own materials provided in the kits. The vegetable requirement in the city is over 1 lakh tonnes a year. It would require a minimum of 20,000 acres to grow this quantity — at a rate of 5 tonnes per acre — to meet the requirement of green vegetables.
Many roof garden farmers are growing healthy leafy vegetables using only organic materials, Venkatram Reddy said. The roof gardens come in handy to avoid vegetables grown in surroundings affected by industrial effluents, especially on the banks of the Musi. The arsenic content in the leafy vegetables often exceeds the critical values of nutrients in them.
Buildings with roof gardens also help in bringing down the oppressive heat during the summer. With the ability to reduce the overall heat absorption of the building, plants help in minimising the use of air conditioners, the Commissioner said.