Haritha Haram largest green drive in India

By: Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

Conceived by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao himself, the highly prestigious afforestation programme of Telangana aims at hugely expanding the green cover in the State. As many as 230 crore seedlings are targeted to be planted across the State in stages. The government is making the programme essentially a people-driven movement, by involving all sections. The entire government machinery is geared up to ensure the success of the programme which will be launched by President Pranab Mukherjee near Yadagirigutta in Nalgonda district on July 3

The stage is all set and everything has been put in place to launch the prestigious people-centric programme of ‘Telangana ku Haritha Haram’ on July 3, 2015. The programme was conceived a year ago by the Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, with an objective of improving green cover, maintaining ecological balance and ensuring sustainable livelihoods.

The State government is leaving no stone unturned in its greenery efforts in view of CM KCR’s keen interest in the programme

The State government is leaving no stone unturned in its greenery efforts in view of CM KCR’s keen interest in the programme

While conceiving and designing the programme, the Chief Minister said that due to shortage of forests and increasing deforestation, there was an increasing need to go for massive plantation as well as regeneration of the forests. Growing of trees was the only way to ensure higher rainfall with attendant benefits for all, he stressed.

‘Telangana ku Haritha Haram’ is one of the flagship programmes announced by the Chief Minister envisaging increase of the tree cover of the State from 24% to 33% of the total geographical area. As part of this, in the coming three years, 230 crore seedlings are proposed to be added to the greenery of the State. Out of this, 130 crore seedlings are proposed to be planted outside the notified forest areas, including 10 crore within the limits of Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA).

It is also proposed to rejuvenate the parched lands with 100 crore plants in the notified forests by way of intensive protection of the forests and encouraging live root stock. This means 40 crore plants every year at the rate of 40 lakh saplings in each of the Assembly segments. Accordingly, nurseries have been developed and the seedlings are ready for plantation all over the State. The trees proposed to be planted in forest would be of wild fruit bearing ones. They also include medicinal and aromatic plants.

The Haritha Haram shall be a people’s movement according to the Chief Minister. “Haritham, Shivam, Sundaram” is the motto of the programme. The massive plantation programme has to be viewed in the context of overall development of Telangana State as well as Hyderabad brand image development. The programme aims at schematic plantation as was done in Singapore, unlike the old fashioned avenue plantations.

People should have a feeling that they are walking in the forest. It is also envisaged to go for plantations all around rivers, rivulets, banks, tank bunds, compounds of all institutions, institutional areas, industrial areas, factories, university campuses etc. In order to make this a successful and long-term sustainable programme, the Chief Minister reviewed its progress from time to time with the Minister concerned, senior officials of forest department, District Collectors, Superintendents of Police, forest officers like Rangers, DFOs, Conservators and others.

For taking forward the programme without any hurdle, the CM enquired from the field-level forest personnel about their problems and offered solutions. In one of the review meetings with them, when it was brought to the CM’s notice about the unauthorised occupations of the forest area by some people and timber smugglers, he promised full support to them from the government to act tough with occupants and smugglers.

The CM also offered gunmen facility to forest staff wherever required. To strengthen the plantation programme and make available the forest land, he suggested that District Collectors and Forest Officers should conduct a joint survey of forest lands for fixing boundaries. In subsequent review meetings, the Chief Minister has also given a call to increase the number of plantations to 320 crore to make it more effective. He suggested increasing the number to 60-70 crore from the next year.

He also desired that the first or second week of July every year shall be observed as Haritha Haram week as a participatory programme and Collectors should evince a keen interest in plantation. At the latest review meeting with Collectors, SPs and Forest Officers, the CM said that there has been a lot of praise for the Haritha Haram programme from all over the country. Several people are mentioning that such a programme has never been conceived and implemented as is being done in Telangana.

This has to be carried as a people’s movement. The CM also made a special mention about the keen interest being evinced by police officers. This is not merely a forest department program, but it belongs to all, he stressed, adding that it was also decided to plant trees along the national and the State highways. Against this background, on the whole, 39.6 crore seedlings have been raised in the State. District-wise, constituency-wise and village-level plans for the programme have already been chalked out and are ready with the Collectors. Planting sites have been identified.

In the capital, along the Outer Ring Road, thematic planting is being covered under the Haritha Haram programme. As for the funds, NREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), afforestation funds through the forest department, industrial funds through industries department and municipality funds through municipality department have been tied up and linked to the programme. “Gram Panchayat Haritha Rakshana Committees” have been constituted at village levels.

Each committee is headed by village Sarpanch and includes among others MPTC, panchayat secretary, SHG leader, ANM and Anganwadi worker. The committee, besides ensuring successful implementation of the programme, will ensure protection of the plants and involve people through motivation. A publicity blitzkrieg has been launched in the form of short films like TV ads, radio jingles, campaigns and flickers. Posters, pamphlets, stickers for vehicles have been prepared.

Samskritika Saradhi teams are also drawn and are already active. Kavisammelanams, avadhanams, mushairas etc. are being organized. Meetings have been held from State level to village level. Meetings with all the central and the state government institutions including Army officers and Cantonment Boards were also conducted to enlist their support and participation. Haritha Haram nursery directories have been printed district-wise, giving details of seedlings available nursery wise and constituency-wise.

The same has been sent to all the elected representatives and to all Gram Panchayats. Detailed guidelines have been issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) regarding the roles and responsibilities of various participating departments. An Officer on Special duty to CM is monitoring the programme in each district.

Haritha Haram reminds one of a similar programme taken up in China where a massive tree plantation programme has helped offset tropical deforestation. China’s reforestation programme known as the “Green Great Wall” is said to be the world’s largest ecological engineering project. In a matter of three years, ‘Telangana ku Haritha Haram’ will become one of the best practices in green cover expansion efforts.

(The writer is the Chief Public Relations Officer to the Telangana Chief Minister)

Courtesy:The Hans India

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