Greenery on Simhachalam hills to be restored

Greenery on Simhachalam hills to be restored
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Highlights

Srivarahalakshmi Nrusimha Swamy Devasthanam launched Simhagiri Vanasamrakshana Yagnam (SVY), an integrated project, to restore the greenery, minimising the pollution levels in the city and stabilise groundwater table in the city. As a part of SVY, the Simhachalam Devasthanam has made plans to take up one lakh plantation programme by the end of December 2018.

Visakhapatnam: Srivarahalakshmi Nrusimha Swamy Devasthanam launched Simhagiri Vanasamrakshana Yagnam (SVY), an integrated project, to restore the greenery, minimising the pollution levels in the city and stabilise groundwater table in the city. As a part of SVY, the Simhachalam Devasthanam has made plans to take up one lakh plantation programme by the end of December 2018.

Highlights:

  • The aim of Simhagiri Vanasamrakshana Yagnam is to arrest soil erosion and rock expose.
  • Conservation of plants of cultural and medicinal importance.
  • Restore the habitat for species, butterflies, reptiles and native fauna
  • Simhagiri Hills are being developed as one of the best botanical study spots in the country

The Simhachalam hills, which have been spread in 15-km radius, have strong potential to sequester carbon emissions of at least 10,000 tonnes per annum, if complete green cover is restored on the hills. The Simhachalam hills are best among the Eastern Ghats with lavish flora and fauna.

The Simhachalam hills are playing a vital role in protecting Vizag city from the environmental hazards. However, due to the rapid urbanisation, the biodiversity was damaged and rock areas were exposed at various places on the hills. Several water springs have been vanished and some are on the verge to vanish.

Andhra University has studied the environmental emergencies and gave a master plan to the devasthanam. Andhra University has found that there were 74 varieties of plants on the hills of them 34 were extinct. The university also alerted the devasthanm to take immediate measures to conserve the flora and fauna on the hills.

There are 74 varieties of flora and 200 species of fauna were found. However, a big number of flora and fauna species were disappeared in the past three decades. Meanwhile, Hudhud cyclone in 2014 severely damaged the greenery of the Simhagiri hills.

Adopting the master plan, the devasthanam has kick-started the SVY project last year. In 2016 monsoon sessions, the devasthanam procured 16,000 saplings and planted. The devasthanam has also started its own nursery last year. At present 32,000 varieties of saplings were ready in the nursery for plantation. This year the devasthanam has made arrangements to plant over 20,000 saplings by end of August/September.

"Out of 34 varieties of trees, we recovered 30 varieties. We have broadcasted 800 kgs of seeds covered with cow dung and expected the seedlings in the present monsoon rains. We are making arrangements to plant one lakh saplings completely manual plantation by 2018 monsoon.

In order to arrest the rock area expose, the devasthanam is taking steps by adopting water seed management works. Trenches, circulation tanks and check dams are being constructed to conserve every drop of rain water. Once the rain water ensured to sunken in the hills, it will be a big boon to the groundwater table in the city.

Last year, 15,000 cubic metres works were executed and this year they planned to take up 25,000 cubic metres works. The Simhagiri Vanasamrakshana Yagnam is an integrated project”, said executive officer of Simhachalam Devasthanam K Ramachandra Mohan.

The survival rate of the plantation was 98 per cent. The devasthanam is providing water to the plants with its own tankers and also hired some tankers in the summer. The thick green hills are the Lord Nrusimha Swamy’s gift to the Vizag city. However, to witness the result of the SVY, we have to wait at least three to four years”, the executive officer said.

By VKL Gayatri

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