“Re-location of the horticultural nurseries in Kota Damansara leaves a lot to be desired”

WHAT has become of the horticultural nursery relocation programme by the Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Selangor (PKPS)?

The new 60-acre nursery site in Bukit Changgang near Banting, Selangor to replace the one in Green Lane, Kota Damansara, was scheduled to be completed last year.

However, apart from the initial site clearance in Bukit Changgang early last year no other infrastructural or improvement works have taken place.

The site is now overgrown with bushes and shrubs and resembles a mini-jungle. The nursery owners, who were allotted a quarter of an acre of land each, had signed the tenancy agreement and settled the relevant payments last year.

The monthly rental for the lots is RM300. Many nursery operators consider the Bukit Changgang location commercially unviable and too far away from their present site in the Green Lane Kota Damansara in Sungai Buloh.

Since they had no other alternatives, many agreed to relocate and were given a one-year temporary reprieve last year at their present site until the Bukit Changgang site was ready for occupation.

However, the PKPS and the state government have not taken any urgent steps to expedite development of the Bukit Changgang site.

Due to the long delay the nursery owners at the existing site are facing uncertainty and doubt and many have slowed down their business, the area has become unkempt, some have abandoned their plots and no new investments have been made to continue their business.

The nurserymen cannot move to the new site unless adequate infrastructure such as access roads, electricity and water connections are made.

A survey also needs to be done to demarcate individual plot boundaries. The low-lying new site has also been rumoured to be prone to flooding and this has led to worries and hesitancy on the part of the nurserymen. A better nursery site closer to Sungai Buloh will be a good option for the nurserymen.

The issue of the re-location of the nurseries has not been pro-actively or sympathetically handled by all the government authorities concerned, and this is the main reason why the once-thriving horticultural business in Green Lane Kota Damansara has met a dead end.

In some countries a nursery hub is planned in a way that it becomes a major business and tourist attraction, and earning the government substantial revenues.

The horticultural business is touted as one of the main thrusts to cope with climate change and environmental rehabilitation.

All three phases of the re-location exercise beginning in 2017 had been done haphazardly and without thought of the consequences of re-location.

Sungai Buloh is famous for its horticultural industry and these kind of disorganised relocations could ruin the industry.

Many nursery owners in the Green Lane Nursery Centre had to fold their businesses, some were given non-existent relocation sites, some not given any form of temporary occupation licence (TOL), and a few had ended up having to rent lots in a TNB transmission reserve in Petaling Jaya.

To top it off, the contractor for the construction of the DASH Highway wrongly surveyed the extent of land that was needed to be acquired for the slip road to the highway, and due to this, five nursery owners had to give way when there was no need for them to do so.

The vacant land, comprising five lots, is now used as a dumping ground for rubbish and has become an unkempt brushland.

The surveyors should have been more responsible and competent, and due to their mistakes five nursery owners ended up losing their livelihoods.

They were promised an ex-gratia compensation which has not been settled by the DASH Highway contractor and Projek Lintasan Kota Holdings Sdn Bhd (Prolintas) despite persistent requests.

The five nursery owners should be allowed to reclaim their now vacant lots as they have not gotten any replacement lots or the ex-gratia payment.

The entire episode reeks of indifference and poor long-term planning and this has killed off the once vibrant and thriving Green Lane Kota Damansara horticultural business centre, and the Selangor state government can take full credit for the “effort”. – Feb 23, 2024


V. Thomas
Sungai Buloh, Selangor

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: The Star

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