The UP government has ordered a 24-hour-long plantation drive to be carried out throughout the state from 10am on Monday. The state forest department aims to plant five crore saplings before the drive ends on July 12.
As many as 1.10 lakh saplings, plants and trees are to be planted in Gautam Budh Nagar and 80,060 in Ghaziabad under this programme. In Ghaziabad district, the plantation will be conducted in the four development blocks of Razapur, Murad Nagar, Loni and Bhojpur.
“The entire exercise will be monitored by officials in Lucknow with the help of satellite. We have provided them coordinates of all the 18 places where plantation will take place. The drive will also be carried out at night if required and all arrangements have been made for it,” said BP Singh, divisional forest officer, Ghaziabad.
A total of 60.122 hectares has been identified for plantation, which includes areas of Hindon canal, Upper Ganga Canal and reserved forests at Talheta, Chudiyala, Mohammadur Amad Baghpat and Ahmednagar Navada, among others.
According to officials, all the works related to digging up of soil, arrangement for tree guards and fencing was completed by March 31 and verified by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
In neighbouring Gautam Budh Nagar, forest department officials said the plantation will also take place in the reserved forest areas at Gulistanpur, Murshidpur, Jewar and Dankaur. The district has nearly 1,500 hectares of reserved forest areas.
“The drive will also include plantation of 30,000 plants on a major patch near Bisada village to be known as ‘Sohard Van’ (communal harmony park). Local residents and people from all communities will help us out in the plantation at Bisada. We are all geared up for the drive,” said HV Girish, divisional forest officer, Gautam Budh Nagar.
Environmental activists said that the plantation drive was welcome, but officials should focus more on survival of plants rather than simply planting a large number of trees/plants.
“We have made representations to top officials of the UP state forest department that agencies should take care of plantation for a minimum five years. Otherwise, many of the trees and saplings planted die out due to poor upkeep,” said Akash Vashishtha, an environmental activist from Ghaziabad.