Saplings not watered, govt orders action
Delhi’s environment minister Imran Hussain on Thursday directed the forest department to ensure proper care of saplings after finding that some of them, planted barely 12 days ago, were not doing well.
Hussain on Thursday visited Garhi Mandu in northeast Delhi, where more than 60,000 saplings were planted on September 8 as a part of the Delhi government’s mega plantation drive.
More than five lakh saplings were planted on that day at 643 locations across Delhi.
“During Thursday’s inspection, the minister observed that while overall, the plantation showed normal growth, in some pockets, it appeared that the saplings were not adequately watered and taken care of,” a government statement said.
He directed that the forest department coordinate with other greening agencies such as civic bodies, public works department and the Delhi Development Authority, among others, to ensure proper care and upkeep of saplings for a 100% survival rate.
A recent report from the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) had said that the plantation of 28.12 lakh trees, between 2014 and 2017, could not lead to a commensurate increase in tree and forest cover, thereby raising concerns about the efficacy of Delhi government’s plantation drive.
The report also stated that the Delhi government does not have a forest policy of its own and, hence, lacks a road map or strategy to improve forest cover.
Survival of the saplings in the long-term is crucial, as it will serve the real purpose of reducing air pollution in Delhi, the statement said.
For the first time this year, the government has announced that all saplings would be geo-tagged to monitor their growth.
However, experts believe that plantation must go hand in hand with the primary objective of conserving green spaces and not act as a replacement of trees felled.
“The survival rate of plantation has been an issue for want of a concrete monitoring exercise. Also, plantations must be a secondary exercise and the focus must be on conserving green spaces. More vigilance is required,” Kanchi Kohli, researcher, Centre for Policy Research, said.
As the video clip of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha's deputy speaker Hansraj slapping a student during his visit to a government school in Chamba has gone viral, the Congress has asked the government to initiate action against him. Congress spokesperson and former chairperson of state commission for child rights protection also flayed Hansraj. Hansraj had also defended his act, stating that such action is needed at times to teach students discipline.
At the time when a prolonged dry spell coupled with soaring mercury across the country has triggered an unprecedented heatwave, the arid climatic conditions prevailing in Himachal Pradesh have caused extensive damage to the rabi crops. In March and April, the hill state recorded a rain deficit of over 90% and 89%, which is the highest in the last two decades. The wheat crop was the worst-hit with losses estimated at ₹121.31 crore.
Chandigarh : Punjab assembly speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan has nominated chairmen of various House committees with second-time MLA Kulwant Singh Pandori to head the committee on privileges. According to a release issued by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha secretariat, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria has been nominated as the head of the public accounts committee whereas Budh Ram will lead the committee on public undertakings.
AMRITSAR The special task force of Punjab Police arrested three persons with 3.5kg of heroin following a tip-off near the Taran Wala bridge in Amritsar on Saturday. The accused have been identified as Amrik Singh and his son Prabhdeep Singh of East Gobind Nagar, and Sarabjit Singh of New Preet Nagar in Amritsar. The STF officials said the arrested men had been in contact with some Pakistani smugglers for the supply of heroin.
Jammu: Senior officials of Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab governments on Saturday jointly inspected progress on the prestigious Shahpur Kandi Dam project, an official spokesman said. Principal secretary, Jal Shakti department, Ashok Kumar Parmar, along with his counterpart from Punjab, principal secretary, department of water resources, Krishan Kumar, convened a high-level meeting at project site on Punjab-Jammu and Kashmir border, the spokesman said.