People will get a chance to grow a tree in memory of their loved ones in urban green pockets, a move that will complement Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s World Environment Day step to plant a sapling at his official home, 7 Race Course Road.
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said the scheme would be launched in Pune on Friday to coincide with World Environment Day. Around 4,000 saplings will be planted on a 70-acre land to boost Pune’s green cover.
Aimed primarily at creating urban forests to counter-balance the high level of pollution, the scheme was drawn up after figures revealed new cities have less than 10% greenery, much lower than the national target of 33%.
Javadekar said the urban forest plan would be based on the concept of Smriti Van, where people could plants a sapling after paying a subscription of Rs 2,000.
“Many cities have forest land without trees. We have asked state governments to identify such places where urban forests will be established through people’s participation,” the minister said.
Sports stars Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan, MC Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Geet Sethi and Sushil Kumar are likely to boost the plant-a-tree campaign as ambassadors. The environment minister said Kohli and Kumar would plant saplings at Paryavaran Bhavan in Delhi. Tendulkar, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma will do the same along with minister Javadekar at Joggers Park, Mumbai. The Indian cricket team will participate in a plantation drive in Kolkata before leaving for the Bangladesh tour.
To ensure greater participation of people, Javadekar said the ministry website and twitter handle would carry pictures sent by participants.