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Best time to plant is now

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‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.’ Taking inspiration from this Chinese proverb, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao launched ‘Telanganaku Haritha Haram,’ a massive green drive in the State as a critical component of the march towards Bangaru Telangana (Golden Telangana), a dream he is determined to make it a reality.

One of the flagship programmes of the State government, it aims to increase the green cover from the present 24 per cent to 33 per cent of the total geographical area of the State by planting 230 crore saplings over five years. Of the 230 crore saplings, 120 crore will be planted outside the notified forest areas, and another 10 crore will be in and around the Hyderabad City (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and Hyderabad Metro Development Authority) areas. The remaining 100 crore saplings will used for rejuvenation of degraded natural forest. It is aimed to plant 40,000 saplings in each village and 40 lakh saplings in each of the 119 Assembly constituencies every year.

The programme was formally launched by the Chief Minister on July 3, 2015. The THH is the third largest afforestation programme taken up by any government in the world, after China which took up plantation of 800 crore saplings and Brazil which planted 400 crore saplings. But then, they were nation-wide green campaigns, which is what makes the TS government’s initiative unique.

The programme is aimed at rejuvenation and protection of degraded forests from smuggling, prevent encroachments, fires and cultivate grazing pastures besides utilising intensive soil and moisture conservation measures following the watershed approach. In the first phase in 2015-16, 15.86 crore saplings were planted across the State. Another 31.67 crore saplings were planted in the second phase in 2016-17. The government has completed planting of 35 crore saplings of the total 40 crore in the third phase so far this year.

Highlights and Achievements

After formation of Telangana State, preparatory works for the massive green drive started in 2014-15 with the government raising 38.63 crore seedlings. The launch of the second phase of THH by the Chief Minister on July 8, 2016, saw a record avenue plantation being taken up on the National Highway from Hyderabad to Vijayawada in one single day covering 186 km.

Awards to the participants

To encourage the spirit of competition and to recognise the contribution made in the successful implementation of Telanganaku Haritha Haaram, the State government constituted ‘Telangana Haritha Mithra Awards’ for different stakeholders including individuals, public representatives, NGOs, government organisations, corporates, rural and urban bodies. The first year’s awards of the annual affair were distributed on Independence Day — August 16, 2016. The State government has proposed ‘Telangana Haritha Mitra Award’ in the following categories.

Safety measures and protection of plants

Geo-tagging: The government decided to geo-tag all saplings planted under Haritha Haram to ensure their survival through regular monitoring. So far, 30 crore saplings have been geo-tagged. The government has been collecting reports every day from all Districts Collectors about saplings planted during the green drive and is closely monitoring the implementation of Haritha Haram. The officials concerned are required to upload photographs of saplings every three months in the forest management information system website to ensuring monitoring of saplings.

Tree guards: The government supplies tree guards to protect the saplings planted under THH.

Appointment of SHG groups: Self Help Groups have been entrusted with the job of protecting the plants by watering and removing weeds from time to time

Green Brigades: Realising that nurturing of saplings and protection of trees is as important as planting of saplings, Chief Minister K Chandrashkhar Rao stressed the need to constitute Green Brigades in the State during the third edition of the programme. In all, 30,777 Green Brigades involving a total of 48 lakh people have been constituted State-wide. The Green Brigades have students, women and employees as its members. A senior official or an elected representative heads each brigade.

The Green Brigades not only plant saplings, but are also involved in setting up tree guards, watering plants when there are no rains and during summer, and arranging water tankers to ensure water for the plants

Seed bombing technique

During the 2017 planting season, a new concept of seed bombing was introduced under THH to take up greenery on slopes, hillocks and remote areas. Seed balls are prepared with earth, manure and other nutrients with a seed inserted into it. Several districts administrations deployed this technique with the participation of a large number of forest and other department officials, students and youngsters.

Development of urban lung spaces

Forest blocks adjacent to major cities and towns are being developed into urban parks which are acting as urban lung spaces for the local people. So far, 24 urban blocks have been developed.

Survival rate

Of the total saplings planted along highways and roads during the last two years, the survival rate was found to be 91 per cent. The survival rate of saplings planted in unused lands belonging to government was found to be 79 per cent while that of saplings in waste lands was 53 per cent.

Along the Outer Ring Road

The State government has identified 13 points on either side of the Outer Ring Road to take up the green drive. Hyderabad Metro Development Authority (HMDA) has decided to plant 1.10 saplings along the ORR stretch and so far around 70 lakh saplings have been planted.

GHMC improves green cover under Haritha Haram

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has improved green cover in the city under the State government’s flagship programme ‘Telanganaku Haritha Haram’.

As part of the Haritha Haram, the State Government during the year 2016-17 had fixed a target of planting 81 lakh seedlings to the municipal corporation. Despite the space constraint, the GHMC officials approached government and private institutions for taking up mass plantations and planted 84.91 lakh seedlings, including distribution of home stead plants.

More so, on July 11, 2016 as part of the ‘One Day Mega Plantation’ drive, the municipal corporation planted 29.19 lakh saplings as against the target of 25 lakh in GHMC and Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority limits. Buoyed by the success, the GHMC had proposed to take up planting of one crore seedlings in its limits for 2017-18. Till October 20, the municipal corporation managed to plant 76 lakh saplings. This apart, green curtains and green ways have been developed at 36 locations during the current year, said Damodar, Director Urban Biodiversity, GHMC.

Participate in Haritha Haram programme like you did during the separate Statehood movement. Plant one sapling per head and nurture it just as you would help in the growth of your child.

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