Hyderabad: Under Telangana’s ‘Haritha Haram’ programme to improve green cover, 220 crore saplings were planted at a cost of Rs 5,900 crore during the last six years, a state minister said on Thursday.
The seventh phase of the massive tree plantation programme began across Telangana on Thursday.
Minister for municipal administration and urban development K. T. Rama Rao, who launched the programme, described Haritha Haram as the ‘third largest effort of its kind in human history’.
He along with minister for environment and forest A. Indrakaran Reddy, and minister for education Sabitha Indra Reddy, launched the 10-day plantation drive at the reserve forest area abutting the Outer Ring Road near Amberpet Kalan on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
As part of the event, the urban forest park developed by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) was inaugurated.
Haritha Haram was launched in 2015. This year the department of forest and environment has set a target to plant 20 crore saplings across the state. If completed, this will exceed the Haritha Haram target of 230 crore saplings,
Rama Rao pointed out that plantation of 220 crore saplings has been taken up under Haritha Haram at a cost of Rs 5,900 crore.
KTR, as the minister is popularly known, claimed that the programme has increased the state’s green cover from 23.4 per cent to 28 per cent and emphasized the need to achieve the target of 33 per cent.
He called for participation of all people irrespective of their political ideology in the programme saying it is aimed at protecting the environment.
He urged people not to consider it as a government programme. He said there was no other programme which is greater than Haritha Haram. “The programme is aimed at increasing the green cover in the state and not to derive any political mileage. It is to ensure a safe environment for our future generations and save the planet,” he said.
Stressing the need for environmental conservation for future generations, the minister recalled the crisis faced by all due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister said 129 urban parks were developed under the programme. A total of 59 urban parks were developed at a cost of Rs 650 crore in the limits of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority.
In the current phase, the focus will be on the multi-level avenue plantations, in order to green and beautify the state and national highways, and village roads. Officials said importance will also be given to Miyawaki plantations wherever possible.
A total of 25 crore saplings are available for plantation in the 15,241 nurseries across Telangana for the current phase.
This year, the authorities plan to distribute six saplings to each household.
Forest minister Indrakaran Reddy said the government had amended the Panchayat Raj Act and Municipal Act making it mandatory to allocate 10 per cent as green Budget in all local bodies.