Telangana, which has been topping national charts in various parameters, proved yet again that it is a role model to the country. On the eve of World Environment Day, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a prominent public interest research and advocacy organisation, released its annual compendium of data in which Telangana was ranked in the top in terms of overall environmental performance. The progress achieved in increasing forest cover and in municipal waste treatment were considered for the ranking. Minister K.T. Rama Rao who lauded the ranking, said that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s brainchild ‘Haritha Haaram’ and other environmentally friendly programmes secured this rare honour.
On the occasion, the Minister recalled the State government’s pioneering initiatives which led to remarkable increase in the green cover in both rural and urban areas, the social benefits and national, international recognitions achieved because of them, waste-to-energy programmes and other aspects.
He said that the Chief Minister undertook the Haritha Haaram program to reverse the damage caused to the environment in the State. The Minister said that the State government implemented the programme, with the cooperation of people, to increase the green cover from 22% to 33%. KTR said that various orgaisations have recognised the positive impacts the programme had. About 273 crores of saplings were planted in the last nine years, which led to an increase in the forest cover in the State from 19,854 square kilometers in 2015-16 to 26,969 square kilometers in 2023. A remarkable 24.06% of geographical area in the State is covered with forests. KTR cited the Forest Survey of India’s report, which stated that the Haritha Haaram programme increased the green cover in the State by 7.70%.
The Minister said that along with social forestry, parks were developed in both urban and rural areas. KTR said that the green budget is allotted under the Panchayat Raj Act and Municipal Act, which is a first of its kind. Now, he said, about 15,000 nurseries, nearly 19,400 Palle Prakruthi Vanams, and 2,725 large Palle Prakruthi Vanams were developed. The Minister said that Rs 700 crores was spent to develop urban forest parks in cities. He said that Hyderabad was recognised as the Tree City of the World.
The Minister said that the State government implemented best practices in sanitation management too. He said that the process of biomining, to ensure scientific disposal of waste, was started in municipal corporations and municipalities. KTR said that 24 Megawatts (MW) were produced through waste-to-energy in Hyderabad.The State also stood as leader in generating electricity through alternative sources. The Minister said that while only 74 MW was produced through solar energy when the State was formed in 2014, it surged to 5,865 MW now. He said that it is a matter of pride that the small State stood in second position in the country in terms of generating power through solar energy and that it is a testament of the State’s commitment.
KTR said that the national and international level recognitions to the State government’s efforts gives further inspiration. He recalled policy think tank NITI Aayog’s appreciation that Prakurthi Vanam concept is a role model to the country. He said that this is a recognition of the State government’s comprehensive and balanced environmental policies and Chief Minister KCR’s commitment to the environment. The Minister affirmed that the State government is deeply committed to ensuring an environmentally-friendly State for future generations