Agencies to meet excess plantation target of 4.52 lakh trees out of own resources
Ahead of the annual plantation drive, the divisional forest department faces a shortage of about 2 lakh saplings, thanks to a late target revision. The forest department has clarified that it will not be able to supply more than the initial number promised and that the various departments will have to make up for the deficit on their own. However, some departments have already chosen to buy most of their saplings from private agencies stating the forest department saplings were of “poor quality”.
This year, for Ghaziabad, the state government had set an annual plantation target of 8.26 lakh saplings, which the local administration revised to 12.78 lakh sometime in June, officials said. Against this, the forest department only has 10.78 lakh trees. The overall annual plantation target for the state is 22 crore. For this year’s annual plantation drive, all saplings were to be provided by the forest department under the ‘direct sapling transfer’ scheme. The financial settlement for this would be done at the departmental level in Lucknow. The forest department officials said they provide saplings to other departments for ₹7- ₹80 based on height and age of the sapling.
“The annual target for Ghaizabad (for all departments) was 8.26 lakh. This was hiked to 12.78 lakh saplings by the former district magistrate. Against this, we only have 10.78 lakh saplings at all our five nurseries together. We will only provide the stock of 8.26 lakh saplings. The shortfall will have to be taken care of by the respective departments from their own reserves or through private nurseries. The departments can come and they can choose the trees they want,” divisional forest officer Diksha Bhandari said.
Among various departments, the Ghaziabad development authority (GDA) had received a target of 1.17 lakh trees, but its officials said they will only procure about 15, 000 trees. Officials said they will spend about ₹1 crore out of their own funds for procuring the rest of the plants.
“The trees provided by the forest department are very small and thus, of little use to us. We will be taking only 15,000 saplings from them. The rest, we will procure from private nurseries using our own funds,” said Kanchan Verma, authority’s vice-chairperson.
Verma added that since the availability of saplings is an issue during the annual plantation time, they have started growing saplings at its two nurseries. “After two years we will be having about 1 lakh trees. This will save the cost of procurement from outside,” she said.
This year, the GDA has planned for a mega plantation drive at Modinagar on August 9—77th anniversary of ‘Quit India Movement’—when 7,000 trees will be planted over 13 hectare of land procured from the gram samaj.
To commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Ghaziabad forest department has also chosen a spot near the Upper Ganga Canal, Muradnagar, where 5,000 trees—as directed by the state government—will be planted at ‘Gandhi Upvan’. Here 150 trees of five species favoured by Gandhiji will be planted. These include mango, banyan, babool, saal, mahua and kalpvriksh.