State pledges to plant trees along Ganga

Bihar has become the first state to submit a detailed proposal, worth Rs 1,150 crore, for undertaking plantation along the Ganga under the Centre-sponsored Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called Namami Gange.

By Sanjeev Kumar Verma
  • Published 7.07.15
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Green mission

Bihar has become the first state to submit a detailed proposal, worth Rs 1,150 crore, for undertaking plantation along the Ganga under the Centre-sponsored Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called Namami Gange.

The proposal was submitted during a two-day conference of riparian states and other stakeholders at the Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, on July 2 and 3. Representatives from Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bengal attended.

The 2,510km-long Ganga flows through Bihar for 500km. It enters the state near Chausa (Buxar district) in the west and flows up to Manihari Ghat (Katihar district). After flowing another 20 km in the east, it enters Bengal. Based on plans submitted by other states and Bihar, a detailed project report would be prepared by FRI, Dehradun, for implementing plantation part of the mission being implemented by Union ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation.

Apart from cleaning the river and developing the riverfront at important cities, the project entails developing green patches on the river's banks to act as a protective layer.

"Our proposal talks of three tasks - plantation on government land along the river's banks, agro-forestry work on private land and soil conservation work," principal chief conservator of forests (development) D.K. Shukla, who led the Bihar team, told The Telegraph on Monday.

Around 3,000 hectares of government land on the riverbank on which plantation has been proposed. There would be three types of plantation - medicinal shrubs near the bank, bamboo plantation beyond that and regular trees on the outermost layer. The width of plantation would depend on land availability on different tracts, said a forest official.

In case of private land, agro-forestry would be promoted and landowners encouraged to take up plantation work. The forest department would assist them in upkeep of plants and provide subsidy as per norms. The exact measure of private land on the river bank could be around 2,000 hectares, said a source.

Soil conservation work would be taken up in hilly terrain through which many tributaries of the Ganga drain and both plantation work and construction of check dams would be undertaken in such areas. The idea is to check soil erosion, which, in turn, would check siltation. The proposal says soil conservation work would be undertaken in around 4,500 hectares.

"Around Rs 1,150 crore would be required to undertake plantation work along the Ganga in Bihar, but the actual amount would depend on the DPR to be prepared by FRI, Dehradun. We hope that our proposal would be accepted as it has been formulated after lot of ground work," a senior forest department official said.

Other states had been asked to submit their proposals as early as possible, as the Centre wants to start the work in this fiscal (2015-16) only.