The Haryana government has sought the support and participation of private agencies with a view to transplanting mature trees in the city.
The state will provide expertise on transplantation to civic officials and private operators who order or authorise felling of trees in the areas for development work.
Official data doesn’t make for very good reading with respect to Gurgaon’s green cover, as it suggests that the city has already lost 8% of its total forest area. According to forest department records, the total protected forest area in Gurgaon is about 1,600 hectares, which works out to approximately 2% of the total area of the city.
Of the total area in the city, about 130 hectares receive less rainfall and even the soil is not deemed fertile enough for the growth of trees. Hence, the scale of vegetation has reduced incrementally over time and the area is largely being used for non-agricultural purposes — construction of buildings and supermarkets.
“As the survival rate of saplings are below 10% in the city, we’re seriously considering transplantation of mature trees,” MD Sinha, conservator of forest, south Haryana, said.
A formal proposal on transplantation has already been mooted to all civic bodies and organisations who sought approval for clearing vegetation in order to take up development work. However, the officials said they won’t encourage individuals, who often seek clearance for felling trees, to be part of this initiative as it takes about R50,000 to have a single mature tree transplanted.
A proposal has also been sent to HUDA (Haryana Urban Development Authority), which has already brought down more than 5,000 trees for construction of underpasses at Rajiv Chowk, IFFCO Chowk and Signature Tower intersections. The project is aimed at decongesting the Gurgaon expressway.
Quizzed on the process of transplantation, the forest department officials said the trees would either be moved ‘bare-root’ or ‘balled-and-wrapped’ (with the soil ball intact). “Bare-root transplantation is usually limited to deciduous shrubs and small deciduous trees (up to two inches in diameter). Balling-and-wrapping is what is used for all evergreen trees more than two inches in diameter. Even though most trees may be moved balled-and-wrapped during any time of year, the greatest success is achieved by transplanting them during the dormant season,” Sinha said.
However, the texture of the soil in Gurgaon does make transplantation a difficult proposition. Loose, sandy soil make balled-and-wrapped transplantation very difficult if not impossible.
However, two years back, construction giant DLF had mature trees transplanted along Sector 52 and it was successful.
Optimistic on the conduct of this proposed transplantation project, the forest department said, once moved, it will take about 3-4 months for the trees to start growing normally. A crane will be used to lift the trees on a trolley or truck, depending on their size, and have them moved.
“It takes about 35-40 days for transplanted trees to grow new branches and foliage,” Sinha said.
Asked on the transplantation proposal, HUDA officials said it is being deliberated upon. “We are looking for land where we can have the trees transplanted,” VK Nirala, executive engineer, horticulture, HUDA, said.