Massive re-greening drive

Massive re-greening drive

Eight crore saplings made available for plantation Plan to integrate public transport, improve greenery and...

Eight crore saplings made available for plantation

Plan to integrate public transport, improve greenery and protect lakes

planting a treeHyderabad: The State is gearing up for a massive re-greening programme by taking up plantation of eight crore saplings of different types, according to Chief Secretary P K Mohanty. Taking stock of the plantation programme undertaken at Yellammakunta lake near Lanco Hills on the outskirts of the city as part of Vanamahotsavam, on Sunday, Mohanty said that the re-greening mission was expected to help restore the loss of foliage in both urban and rural areas in a big way.

He said that the saplings were being raised by various government agencies as part of the mission, and added: "Even if eight crore saplings were sought to be made available for the programme, we need to achieve the target of planting at least six lakh saplings before the end of the season. Some 200 plants of fruit-bearing and broad-leafed species were planted in some government land in Nalgonda district. A private person was tasked with the responsibility of protecting the plants on the condition that he would enjoy the crop."

To check encroachments and illegal constructions near water bodies, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has taken up tree plantation in a big way. Although the civic body has planned to take up the green campaign near 108 lakes and tanks, the Chief Secretary directed the municipal corporation to extend the novel initiative to at least 200 water bodies in corporation limits.

Accompanied by GHMC Commissioner M T Krishna Babu, Mohanty visited five water bodies -- Goshai Kunta, Medikunta, Yellamma Kunta, Kothaguda and Mullakatuva -- in West Zone limits on Sunday. He also planted saplings of various types. He praised the civic body chief for improving GHMC revenues and for involving resident welfare associations and local communities in city development. Mohanty instructed the corporation to increase the target of sapling plantation from one lakh to two lakh during the current monsoon season.

Mohanty stated this initiative was undertaken upon the directions of Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy for transforming Hyderabad into a world class city. He pointed out that the Chief Minister wanted an integrated plan for development of the city. "His vision is to integrate public transport (RTC, MMTS, and HMR), improve greenery, besides conservation and protection of lakes. This plan would be ready in three months," he added.

Mohanty said that there was no dearth of funds, and government would provide anything required for integrated growth with focus on transit-oriented development (TOD). Be it government orders or permissions, or financial help, there would be total support from the government side, he added. The Chief Secretary said Greater Hyderabad was a thickly populated city and hence plans should be drawn with a focus on transit-oriented development (TOD). Co-ordination should exist between various departments like GHMC, HMDA, Irrigation, Panchayat Raj, Water Board, APIIC, Hyderabad Metro Rail, MMTS, Railways, he stressed.

Laying stress on greenery improvement, the Chief Secretary felt that every municipality needed to set aside certain percentage of its budget for improving green cover in its jurisdiction. The GHMC commissioner, who accompanied the Chief Secretary, said that the civic body had already undertaken steps for protection of 108 lakes by erecting fencing around them besides involving residential welfare associations, local communities and companies to safeguard water bodies in their vicinity.

Meanwhile, representatives of SOUL (save our urban lakes) met the Chief Secretary and Commissioner during their visit to Yellamma Kunta and urged the senior officers to take concrete steps for protection of water bodies that have shrunk considerably due to encroachments.

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