Even after a month, no government agency has showed interest in procuring about five lakh saplings supposed to be planted during the present financial year. Reason: The forest department has fixed a price for these saplings under its new policy applicable from April 1 this year.
Many government departments, including the police and public health, are reportedly hesitating to set their plantation targets due to the new rates. The saplings will now be sold at R1 each while tall plants are for Rs25 each.
Earlier, the forest department distributed saplings to offices free of cost. Justifying the new policy, officials contended that fixing a price tag would ensure the departments take up plantation drives seriously and the survival rate of plants will go up. Officials said the survival rate of saplings in 2009-2010 was merely 17% to 25%.
Two lakh saplings, out of a total five lakh, are to be planted in Gurgaon. Another two lakh saplings will be planted in Sohna, while 1 lakh are for Pataudi. A senior forest official said, "Earlier, a few thousand saplings were given to government departments. But due to the cost attached now and limited budgets, we have not received any request for plants till now."