KATHMANDU, Oct 12: Flowers of various types have been used to decorate the Kathmandu streets in a gesture to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping in Nepal. It is estimated that at least Rs 50 million has been spent on planting flowers or using them in pots along the roads as decorative items.
"According to my estimation, around Rs 50-70 million is spent on planting all those plants. The actual data will be out in a few days," said Kumar Kasaju Shrestha, president of Floriculture Association of Nepal said. "This is a positive step. Spending money to create a clean city full of green roads is going to help us in different ways."
Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Kathmandu on Saturday on a two-day visit. Preparations to welcome him have been carried out in full swing. The newly black-topped and cleaned roads of the valley and flowers planted on the streets are indications that the government has taken the visit of the Chinese president seriously.
The streets from where President Xi will pass while moving from the Tribhuvan International Airport to Soaltee hotel have been fully decorated to show clean and green roads.
Flower planting along the way is done in collaboration between Floriculture
Association Nepal and Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC). Alongside flowers, different types of plants available in the country, which can be easily transferred and made to adapt in the valley soil, have been on the roadside. According to the association's officials, all the planted plants are of the species easily available in Nepal, and they have been brought from different nurseries run by local farmers.
Association's President Shrestha fully appreciated the government's plan to plant different types of flowers and to create a green environment in Kathmandu.
"It is a good initiative of the government to decorate streets like this, which helps in creating good environment as well as in providing different employment opportunities to the people. All the used plants are grown in Nepal by our own people, and this will encourage them to produce more," added Shrestha.
Both the association and the KMC were given a week's time to finish the task, which ended on Friday.
"We have focused more on the cleanliness of the roads to make it clean and presentable. The KMC has used 100 people in cleaning roads and for planting flowers and plants. We have completed all the work within a week and the work has turned out to be descent. There is a great change visible before and after work," said Ishwor Man Dangol, spokesperson of the KMC.
Previously, the government had made serious preparations during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well. The preparations for major international summits and conferences have also been noticeable. But, according to observers, the excitement around the Chinese president's visit is quite noteworthy.