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This monsoon, Delhi to get 2.2 lakh plants

Times of India, Delhi, 24th July 2014

 

The forest department is planning to make the most of the monsoons — it is gearing up to plant 2,20,000 saplings in different parts of the city. The rain makes the soil moist and more conducive for plants to grow. What is even more interesting is the economics behind these plantations. For every tree that is cut within the city, the agency or individual who has applied for permission to cut the tree deposits Rs 28,000 with the forest department. Out of this, Rs 14,000 is refunded and the other Rs 14,000 is used by the forest department for plantations each year. These deposits make enough money for the forest department to maintain these plantations for five years. This time, the plantations are coming up against about 20,000 trees that were cut by various agencies and individuals last year. But, due to the massive space crunch in the city, the department cannot do any large scale plantations here.

 

"Most of the city has been urbanized. That is why we are looking for gram sabha land or land on the outskirts to compensate for trees we have lost," said a senior forest official. Plantations have been coming up in patches. Mini forests have come up in Rewla Khanpur and other villages like Kharkhari and Ujwa in Najafgarh, Jhatikara, Dera mandi to compensate for the lakhs of trees felled in the city to facilitate infrastructure projects like the Metro, highways and flyovers. The forest department claims that the survival rates of these plantations have gone up since 2008 which has reflected in the marginal increase in forest area in the recent Forest Survey of India (FSI) area. "We have been noticing survival rates of 85% in certain areas. For individuals who want to conduct monsoon plantations within their colonies or parks, forest department gives seedlings of native varieties for free." For Ridge area, the species used for plantations are different; they are more robust and suit the scrub forest type like Dhak, Raunj, Keekar and others.