|The Telegraph report on July 7, 2012, on lack of care
affecting plantation programmes in Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar, July 11: In the face of constant criticism from various circles over the poor survival rate of the saplings planted by it, the Odisha government has now initiated measures to make its plantation drives more effective.
Studying models adopted by several other cities and states in the country, the government has decided to introduce a plantation audit.
The state forest and environment department has today started consultations to introduce the audit following a report published in The Telegraph on July 7, 2012. The report highlighted the lacunae in its plantation programmes and how other states have adopted measures to implement strategies for better survival of the saplings.
Forest and environment minister Debi Prasad Mishra today listened to suggestions from activists regarding effective plantation programmes.
“A process has started to monitor urban plantation programmes, especially those undertaken in the capital. Last year, we achieved the target of planting 6 lakh saplings in Bhubaneswar alone. This year, we are trying to plant 3.06 lakh more saplings. The programmes will be followed by the plantation audit on the lines of similar models adopted by other states,” he said.
“Tree census is being conducted in Mumbai, Chennai and Nagpur. Ahmedabad will also have it soon. The census will help keep data on the diversity of species, their numbers, density and distribution. It will also help in calculating the total plant biomass,” said Piyush Ranjan Rout of Local Governance Network, who met the minister today to discuss on devising a better green strategy.
The minister told The Telegraph that urban plantation programmes had become a necessity with growing population pressure. Odisha had 39 urban centres in 1951 and it has gone up to 223 in 2011. Similarly, while the urban population was only 3 per cent in 1941, it has reached 16.68 per cent in 2011.
Several plantation programmes in the city, taken up by departments other than forest and environment, have shown that even tree guards were not placed around the saplings.
The Telegraph team has found sites such as the road median near Naveen Nivas where the plantation programme yielded poor results. Uncared avenue plantations were discovered in several other areas too.
“The urban plantation programmes here seriously lack post plantation care. On the other hand, many agencies that execute these plantation programme on behalf of the government or other corporate sectors are also not going for the healthy and tall saplings that can endure more stress to survive,” said plantation activist Nrupesh Kumar Nayak.