Hemant Soren lays the foundation of Oxygen Park in Morabadi, Ranchi, on Wednesday. (Hardeep Singh)
Green fingers seem to be the extension of a verdant Ranchi heart.
The capital district, which works overtime to protect its forest cover, on Wednesday launched an ambitious project to keep up nature’s momentum. Chief minister Hemant Soren laid the foundation stone of a Rs 8.5-crore green lung project, aptly christened Oxygen Park, on 11 acres of wasteland in Morabadi, where ecology will marry recreation some two years from now.
The occasion coincided with the 65th Van Mahotsav celebrations in Jharkhand. Ranchi divisional forest officer R.L. Bakshi said that they had been working on the park project for over six months. “There will be landscaped gardens, tiled pathways, an amphitheatre, galleries, sports facilities and much more. Work will be done in phases. Our target is to throw open Oxygen Park by 2016.”
Bakshi added that the idea was to offer another attraction to everyone visiting Morabadi. “Among other temptations would be a medicinal park, aquatic garden, children’s zone, water cascades and fountains.”
Hemant, who also planted a sapling to mark the beginning of the unique park, however, couldn’t suppress sarcasm in his speech. “It is very unfortunate that today we have to launch something called an Oxygen Park in Morabadi, which was once the green lung of Ranchi,” he said.
“Saving forests isn’t the government’s job alone. It is the duty of every sincere citizen. The more degrees we earn, the more we seem to be losing out on fundamental knowledge. If trees live, we do. I hope we realise this simple truth soon so that we are able to reverse the adverse effects of climate change before it is too late,” the chief minister, a green crusader at heart perhaps, added.
Forest secretary Alka Tiwari, principal chief conservator of forests D.K. Srivastava and IT secretary N.N. Sinha were among other senior officials present on the occasion.
The day also witnessed the launch of a “forest management information system”, prepared with the help of Jharkhand Space Applications Centre (JSAC).
Srivastava said that, henceforth, everyone would be able to see the status of various green projects, forests, land, et al, in the state at http://JSAC.Jharkhand.gov.in:8082/forest.gis. “We had been trying to digitise our records and map it with GPS for real-time monitoring and management. Finally, we have achieved the goal with the help of the state IT department,” he added.
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