Another plantation drive: Another sham

Another plantation drive: Another sham
Highlights

Another Plantation Drive: Another Sham. The plantation drive by GHMC has been reduced to an eyewash and a ritual that would be undertaken in the monsoons. Budgetary constraints and lack of implementation have hit the drive, which boasts of distributing and planting more than 50 lakh trees, of which not many have seen the light of day.

Will the bio-diversity wing realise KCR’s dream project Haritha Haram?

The plantation drive by GHMC has been reduced to an eyewash and a ritual that would be undertaken in the monsoons. Budgetary constraints and lack of implementation have hit the drive, which boasts of distributing and planting more than 50 lakh trees, of which not many have seen the light of day. With KCR announcing the massive green drive to be undertaken to increase the green cover in three years, the wing has to rise to the task


The GHMC has nurseries which grow about 2.50 lakh saplings every year. These are located at Rajendranagar, Nallagandla, Indira Park, HPS Begumpet, Chitra Layout and Chacha Nehru Park. There were plans to raise plant species like Neem, Kanuga and Neredu and develop bio-diversity parks.

Plantation Drive

Plantation drive has been the pet project of the GHMC from 2007. Every year the civic body comes up with grandiose plans of embarking on a plantation drive with targets of planting lakhs of saplings in select areas of the city. The idea and intention behind the plantation drive are commendable but these plans are hardly implemented.

Back in 2007, the drive was started with a modest target of plantation of one lakh saplings a year. Two years later, when CVSK Sarma was the special officer for the GHMC, the target was increased to 10 lakh saplings a year. Statistics with the GHMC states that more than 50 lakh saplings have been distributed and planted so far. The stark contrast here is actual scenario of the city.

With chief minister KCR announcing ‘Haritha Haram’, a massive tree plantation programme to bring the city under green cover within three years, the plantation drive by the GHMC has again gained its prominence.

“We oversee the plantation of about one lakh saplings and trees. The rest nine lakh is distributed to industrial establishments, Industrial Development Areas (IDA), colleges and residents associations. We are doing our part, the implementation has failed at the people’s end,” said an official with the Urban Bio-diversity wing of the GHMC.

While, the corporation claims to spend about Rs 2 crore for watering, grooming and staff salaries apart from developing nurseries, the residents convey that the trees that are seen alongside the roads are planted by the erstwhile MCH not by the GHMC. “The corporation plants and forgets. Come next year they plant again,” says a disgruntled citizen.

Plantation Drive

In 2013-2014 the target of the GHMC was to plant one lakh saplings. Some 50,000 were planted in colonies; 20,000 saplings were planted in 892 open areas identified by the GHMC, 10,000 saplings were distributed to schools and colleges, another 10,000 to bio-diversity parks, 5,000 plants were earmarked for Jubilee Hills and another 5,000 planted in Ashwini layout. Sadly, these are the same areas that are picked from the past three years. Former chief secretary P K Mohanty had ordered the GHMC to plant 2 lakh saplings but those orders also weren’t followed.

Sources in the bio-diversity wing admit that there is lax on their part in overseeing the grooming of plants that were distributed. “The wing has budgetary constraints, that is the prime reason why we distribute the saplings. Of late, we have been concentrating on a select few areas. This trend has started after COP-11,” the source added.

It should be noted that in a review meeting held this week, Commissioner Somesh Kumar ordered the bio-diversity wing officials to refurbish the plantations and works done for the COP-11 for the upcoming World Metropolis Congress in October.

The GHMC has nurseries which grow about 2.50 lakh saplings every year. These are located at Rajendranagar, Nallagandla, Indira Park, HPS Begumpet, Chitra Layout and Chacha Nehru Park. There were plans to raise plant species like Neem, Kanuga and Neredu and develop bio-diversity parks.

Plans were laid and the locations were identified to develop these bio-diversity parks. It was directed that construction and development activity should be undertaken after the plantation drive at select areas like Deeptisri Nagar in Kukatpally, Mallapur in Kapra, Southend Colony in LB Nagar, HUDA Colony, Nandigiri Hills, MCHRD Colony, which were earmarked to be developed as bio-diversity parks. However, the proposals haven’t seen the light of day.

In line with the ‘Haritha Haaram’ programme, the bio-diversity wing had come up with proposals of planting 3 lakh trees at shopping malls and super markets in the city. One lakh at the bus depots, 2 lakh at schools and one lakh alongside roads; these saplings include neem and banyan trees too.

However, considering the fact that the wing is cash-crunched and are in desperate need of funds, will the staff look at increasing the green cover throughout the city rather than a select few areas?

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