The government plans to employ National Rural Employment Generation Scheme workers in a big way to implement ‘Telanganaku Harita Haaram’, a project conceived to increase the green cover in the state.
Having set itself a huge target of planting 130-crore seedlings outside forest areas in the state, the government, for the first-time, intends to involve even big farmers in the plantation drive.
In the united AP, the plantation drives held on smaller scales were confined to the participation of only small and marginal farmers as the targets set for the purpose were minimal. For instance, last year only 5 crore saplings were planted in 23 districts, officials in the rural development commissionerate pointed out.
As per the modalities worked out, field assistants of the rural development department will identify suitable places for planting the saplings. It can be on government offices’ premises, government-owned vacant lands or even lands owned by individual farmers.
For plantation in fields, each farmer will be given a maximum number of 160 saplings per acre for bund plantation and 600 saplings for block plantation. These saplings, mostly teak, are being raised at government and private nurseries in districts and will be ready by July when the first spell of monsoon is expected.
“Authorities of the concerned government office would be made responsible for a healthy growth of the plantations on their respective office premises,” a senior official in the department added, disclosing the guidelines finalised for the implementation of the programme at a high-level meeting held recently.
To ensure that the planted saplings are taken care of well, the government has laid down strict norms before paying the farmers. As per the rates finalised by the government, farmers will be paid `10 for digging a pit and `4 for planting a sapling. They will be paid `5 per plant at the end of every month for two years. However, this comes with a strict rider: they should ensure that at least half of of the saplings they plant should survive.
“That means there should be proper maintenance. Farmers should water the plants and clear the debris regularly to make sure that they receive the payment for two full years,” he pointed out.
Source: The New Indian Express