The forest department won't be able to complete its plantation target of three lakh trees this year. Of the proposed 528 hectares to be regenerated with green over, the department will cover only 60 hectares.
The department has cited severe lack of funds under the National Aforestation Programme (NAP) headed by the Union government.
“We are not even expecting to get funds for more than 50% of the target. All districts this year have received funds only for 60 hectares from the Union ministry of environment and forest,” said a senior forest department official.
Under the NAP, trees were supposed to be planted on at least 528 hectares. The trees numbered approximately three lakh under the project.
“They gave us funds to plant trees on only 60 hectares, out of the total target of 528 hectares under the NAP. On an average, we plant 1,100 trees per hectare. We may get some money under various other government schemes,” said deputy conservator MS Malik.
By now it is clear that the forest department's earlier target of planting eight lakh trees remains an unachievable dream.
The department has nurtured at least five lakh plants in its various nurseries. These will be sold to the public at R1 per sapling. The plants will also be given to various government departments, colleges and schools.
According to the forest department, many plants did not survive last year. If the department planted 1,100 trees per hectare, the targeted 528 hectares can accommodate 5,80,800 trees. But the number has come down to 2,90,000 - 50% of the original target.
Another setback for the forest department is lack of land in Gurgaon. Even the notified forest land has been encroached upon, and sidewalks and small structures have come up on the land. Hence the only feasible place to carry out the Aforestation drive is in the Aravalli range.