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Some loopholes in plantation drive

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, AUG. 22. The greening drive by the Department of Forests and Wildlife at a few locations in the Capital appears to be on the right track, save for a few discrepancies if an inspection report by a group of non-governmental organisations is anything to go by.

According to the report on "Forest Plantation'' for the areas of Issapur, Bhatti Mines and Garhi-Mandu plantations, the Department has more or less managed to meet the targets for the slated period. However, there are certain loopholes including the choice of trees, suggestions for adoption of water harvesting techniques and the need to encourage the natural regeneration.

At the compensatory plantation by the Department for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) at Issapur, it has been observed that "survival percentage is high even in trying conditions''. At the Bhatti Mines, where the Eco-Task Force and Forest Department is involved in the greening drive, despite the rocky terrain, described as "challenging terrain'', there is increase in green cover. At the Garhi-Mandu, the plantation drive has been undertaken by the Forest Department and the plantations have been noticed to be "robust''.

However, the inspection carried out by Ajay Mahajan of Kalpavriksh and Usha Srinivasan of Development Alternatives, also reveals certain loopholes in the plantation drives. "While targets have been met, we noticed that in most places, trees have been planted very close together. Though this is not a problem at the moment, it will cause problems as the trees grow and need more space,'' pointed out Ajay. Also, attention needs to be paid in the selection of species and preference should be given to native species. The case to note here is Garhi-Mandu, where mostly papri has been planted.

In the case of Bhatti Mines, the report points out the water harvesting and recharging potential of the area. "This place is ideal for water recharging. The 100-odd depressions should become water reservoirs. This will not only raise the water table in the Bhatti mine area but also in the neighbouring areas,'' said Ajay.

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