NEW DELHI: The green cover in New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) areas has gone up by 30% in last three years, a reply to an RTI application says.
Over 40,000 saplings were planted in the area during every plantation season from July to September between 2013 and 2015 — exceeding the target each time. At least 90% of these saplings survived.
According to the reply, the survival rate of the saplings in NDMC areas was much higher than the three municipal corporations, the forest department and the Public Works Department (PWD).
Last year, the NDMC had set a target of 2,000 saplings but by September 30, 16,256 had been planted. A similar trend was seen in 2014 and 2013, where the targets of 1,500 and 1,000 were exceeded and 12,000 and 10,000 saplings were planted.
“The idea has always been to increase the green cover in our area and maintaining the existing cover. We carried out an exhaustive plantation drive last year. Saplings were planted in all the major parks, roundabouts and on the sides of footpaths. The aim was to include students and NDMC staff so that it becomes a collective effort,” said Naresh Kumar, NDMC chairperson.
NDMC controls only 3% of the total area of the national capital and houses only 3% of the city’s population.
In 2015, the three municipal corporations (east, south, and north) planted 1.75 lakh saplings against the 7.5 lakh target set for them. Other agencies such as PWD and the forest department also struggled. The PWD had set a target of 50,000 saplings but planted 34,000 and the forest department planted 3.25 lakh against a target of 5 lakh.
The survival rate of these plants had been low for these agencies. In the MCD areas, the survival rate for plants in 2015 was just 30%. For the PWD and forest department, the survival rate was 40% and 60%, respectively. These figures only account for saplings of big trees.
Since reliable data about the number of trees planted in the city is not available, the Delhi government had ordered for a third party tree audit to be conducted by all the agencies. In July last year, the government had said that it, along with other agencies, will plant around 13 lakh trees.
But none of these agencies have conducted a third party audit.