2023.04.22 (Vrindavan Today News): Mathura district has planted around 1.25 crore saplings in the last six years. This number is equivalent to the size of a forest. However, despite the efforts, 20% of the planted saplings have died, resulting in only a 3% increase in greenery in the area. The Forest Department claims that the planting target has been met every year on the same day, on the election pattern, by the officers and employees of all the departments of the district, along with the Forest Department.
In 2016, the state government instructed the Forest Department to plant around 4 lakh saplings, and this number has increased each year since then. In 2017, 5 lakh saplings were planted, and the number increased to 7 lakh in 2018, 21.5 lakh in 2019, 26.5 lakh in 2020, and 32 lakh in 2021. In July 2022, 30.5 lakh saplings were planted, and preparations are underway for a massive tree-planting campaign this year.
To replace the 10-15% of the plants that die before they can grow, the Forest Department continuously plants new saplings. Despite this, approximately 4% of the plants still die. Every two years, a third-party organization from Uttarakhand assesses the status of greenery in the district. In the last survey conducted in 2021, there was an increase of approximately 3% in the area of greenery, which was recorded as 91 sq km. The officials of the Forest Department declared this increase satisfactory. However, no new survey has been conducted yet.
For planting, the Forest Department receives a budget of Rs 25 to 35 thousand per hectare, but most of the planting is not done according to hectare. The planting is done on the length, on the side of the roads, on the tracks of canal Rajwahs, and other small and large places according to the availability of space. Due to this, the figure of planting per hectare is not available. However, in the Google mapping of greenery, only blocks of a minimum of 0.1 hectare can be recorded.
In the district, more than 50 forest sections are reserved and protected in the five forest ranges of the Forest Department. These forest ranges cover a total area of 1400 hectares, with 213 hectares in Govardhan forest range, 403 in Kosikalan, 255 in Baldev, 364 in Mathura, and 223 hectares in Mant. The Forest Department spends crores of rupees every year on tree planting.
The success of Mathura district in planting 1.25 crore saplings in the last six years is commendable. However, the fact that 20% of the saplings have died and only a 3% increase in greenery in the area highlights the need for better monitoring and care of the planted trees. While the Forest Department has been able to achieve its target every year, it is essential to ensure that the planting is done in the right manner and at the right places to maximize its benefits.
It is crucial to take measures to minimize the mortality rate of the planted saplings and replace the dead ones promptly. It is also important to ensure that the planting is done on the right spots to ensure effective growth of the green cover. While the government has been allocating a budget for tree planting, it is essential to ensure that it is utilized efficiently and effectively.
On the other side, in a heartening development, the successful plantation of saplings in Jawahar Bagh and Neem Bari at the district headquarters has brought greenery to the area and attracted people from all over the district. The planting campaign, which has been ongoing for several years, has resulted in the growth of around 10,000 large trees in a total area of approximately 110 acres.
This success comes after a tragedy occurred several years ago when hundreds of trees were burnt down by terrorists. However, the dedication and commitment of the forest department, as well as the use of geo-tagging and monitoring, has resulted in the creation of a lush and vibrant green space.
Furthermore, the department has achieved its target of planting 30.5 lakh saplings in the district this year, just as it did last year. The success of the previous plantations has ensured that many of the plants have been preserved and continue to flourish.
However, it has come to the light that the forest department failed to carry out an important task assigned by the government. The department was instructed to select 32 heritage trees that are over 100 years old in the district and to promote their conservation.
Unfortunately, it appears that the department neglected this task after submitting the list of selected trees to the government.
Many of these trees urgently require conservation as they are either hollow from the inside, on the verge of falling, or have become top-heavy and weak in the middle. Although the Chief Minister has issued a booklet of photographs of these trees, it remains to be seen whether the necessary steps will be taken to ensure their preservation.