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Green cover depletes as plans fall flat

india Updated: Jul 13, 2012 01:25 IST
Darpan Singh

Multiple schemes and frequent plantation drives over the past few years have not benefited the Uttar Pradesh sub-region at all.


According to the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB), the forest cover in the said region - comprising Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar districts — has actually reduced from 3.4% in 1999 to 3.36% in 2008. Moreover, despite much efforts of the government, there has been no improvement in greenery around these cities since 2008.On the other hand, overriding NCRPB's proposal for the proposed the forest cover to be 10% of the UP's total area in the NCR, the state government had proposed a reduction of forest cover to 2.18%. In a communication with the state government, the NCRPB also expressed concern over the disturbing trend."It's a matter of grave concern. The government has not been able to improve its track record.

According to latest data, the green cover in the UP sub-region in 2011 is similar to what it was in 2009," said a senior NCRPB official.During the same period, green cover in Gurgaon-which is part of the Haryana sub-region — has increased from 8.28% to 8.35%. The entire Haryana sub-region has also seen an increase from 3.25 per% to 3.35% in green cover.States such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, whose areas (known as sub-regions) fall within the National Capital Region (NCR), need to get their development plans (known as sub-regional plans) in the region cleared by the NCR Planning Board (NCRPB).

Essentially, the sub-regional plans have to be in conformity with the NCRPB's regional plans."The NCRPB has had to rely on what the sub-regional plans promise in terms of green cover allocations. But it will now monitor the actual execution through satellite mapping," said a senior official.The NCRPB has told UP to protect agricultural land. It has said reduction in canal irrigated agricultural land in the long run will have larger repercussions on food security. As per an analysis, agricultural land has shrunk from 84.46% to 78.38% between 1999 and 2008. Now it is proposed to further reduce from 78.38% to 51.93% by 2031.