Over 4 lakh saplings to be planted in Ghaziabad this monsoonnoida Updated: Jul 06, 2017 23:40 IST
The Ghaziabad district has been given yet another target of planting of nearly 4 lakh trees this monsoon season. (Sakib Ali/ HT Photo)
The district forest department along with various other departments have received a plantation target of over four lakh trees which is to be taken up during the monsoon season, officials said on Thursday.
The environmentalists said the plantation drives taken up in past have hardly added to the environment as majority of the plants failed to survive due to lack of maintenance.
According to BP Singh, divisional forest officer, Ghaziabad, different government agencies have received a combined target of nearly 3.57 lakh while the forest department received target of planting nearly 50,000 trees this year.
“We hope the work is completed in July or August and more emphasis will be on their maintenance and survival,” Singh said.
However, year after year the plantation drives have failed to spruce up the green cover in the district.
“We planted 3,100 trees in a single day in August, 2015 with the help of Ghaziabad development authority. But most of them are now dead and could not survive due to lack of maintenance. In a recent meeting held with authority officials, we stressed on maintenance and care for 5-6 years so that the plants survive,” said Akash Vashistha, from Society for Protection of environment & Biodiversity.
According to Forest Survey of India’s (FSI) state of forest report, Ghaziabad district is spread over a geographical area of 2,590 square kilometre (Sqkm).
Its forest cover stood at 116 sqkm in 2001 which has now declined to 49 sqkm as per the 2015 FSI report, a decline from 4.48% to 1.89% since 2001. According to the 2015 ‘Forest and tree resources’ report by FSI, there has been a decline of 1 square kilometer (sqkm) in the forest cover in Ghaziabad as compared to the previous 2013 FSI survey when it stood at 50 sq km.
The ‘forest cover,’ as per FSI survey, includes all lands, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 percent. Such lands may not be statutorily notified as forest area.
“The plantation drives are mostly reduced to photo opportunities while there should be stress on maintenance of trees. Most plants die early due to non provision of water and destruction by stray animals,” said Ruchin Mehra, another environmentalist.
However, the district forest department officials also admit that plants don’t survive due to proper maintenance.
“The agencies with good budget should make efforts for proper maintenance. Last year, survival rate for plantation was 95% for our department. This year, we are trying for 97%. We are also taking care that proper tree guards, fencing etc is done to protect plants,” Singh said.
“This year, we are focusing more on species like Neem, Pilkhan, Acacia, Kachnar and Kanji, which can survive worse weather conditions,” he added.