Haryana launches ‘van mahotsava’ to improve forest cover

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Gurgaon
  • Updated: Jul 26, 2015 01:11 IST

The state government conducted a plantation drive at Sikanderpur, opposite the Aravalli biodiversity on Saturday as a part of the ‘Van Mahotsava’, launched to increase the tree cover in the state.

The 120-acre-land is proposed to be converted into a city forest soon.

The Muncipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) had earlier identified two patches of land of 120 acres and 50 acres for developing urban forest under a union government plan.

“We will be planting native species which are important for the area. Very soon we will submit a project plan to the state government for its approval regarding funds for the city forest,” Amit Jha, principal secretary (forest), said while planting saplings during the event.

As per a scheme of the government of India, urban forest has to be developed in Gurgaon with a minimum space of 50 acres. The MCG is expected to hand over the selected plot to the forest department.

However, the ownership of the land is currently with the MCG. When enquired about the issue Jha said, “We have requested the MCG to hand over 120-150 acre of land to the forest department.”

Further, he mentioned that within five years they would develop the area into a city forest which will also have a water recharge structure.

“Currently the area is covered with Prosopis juliflora, which improved the quality of the soil and it is the right time to introduce different species that will further improve the area. These will be native Aravalli species,” MD Sinha, conservator of forest, Gurgaon circle, said.

Haryana has a total of 3% forest, the second lowest in the entire country. The Haryana chief minister announced on Saturday that the forest and tree cover in the state will be increased to 10% within five years.

At another event in Gurgaon, the forest department distributed 300 free saplings to residents of Garden Estate in DLF phase-4. The drive was under the ‘Har Ghar Haryali’ project of the Haryana government.

“We have adopted the slogan ‘I am for Green Gurgaon’ for these plantation drives. The plan is to engage every household, especially in urban Gurgaon to plant more trees,” Vasvi Tyagi, divisional forest officer of Gurgaon, said.

Residents planted saplings in the common area and also took some for their homes. According to Shubhra Puri, the coordinator for RWAs, residents loved the drive and also took advice on planting from the department’s gardeners.

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