Sunil Thapliyal, Gurgaon
With only seven percent of Gurgaon under green cover, the State of Haryana is far behind the target of 33 percent green cover according to national forest policy. Rapid growth of the city has transformed it into a concrete jungle. Limited resources and ineffective polices are also damaging the forest policy of the State.
“We have to plant the trees and also preserve them. To grow a tree we get hardly Rs. 20 whereas in Delhi the amount spent over a tree is as high as Rs. 500 per year as compared to Gurgaon,” said a senior forest department official. In Delhi in a Ridge area to plant a tree the total amount can go up to Rs. 1,500 for three years. Before planting the trees the site must be cleaned by the removing all kinds of weeds and grass and uprooting root stumps.
Watering is essential to preserve the trees. “According to Delhi Government norms, to maintain a tree there should be proper watering, thrice a week in the first year, twice a week in the second and once in a week in the third year. In Gurgaon, as per HUDA directive, it is twice week,” said a senior forest department officials.
“There is no planning in planting trees in the area. In Delhi the concerned department is having a policy to plant 5 to 6 foot plants. These plants are having the maximum chances of survival even if they are watered twice and thrice a week. On the contrary, in Gurgaon the height of a tree is only two feet and if the monsoon does not come on time these tree cannot survive. The Government should understand that Gurgaon has sandy soil where these plants need more water and it should follow the same planning as Delhi,” the official said.
However, due to ineffective polices the survival rate of plantations is less than 70 to 80 percent. Low ranked officials and laborers have to face consequences and lost money is recovered from them by cutting their salaries, according to an official of Gurgaon frest range. “The water level has gone down to 60 feet and monsoon has not been normal for many years. It is very difficult to carry out operations like earth works, soil preparation, weeding, water supply, etc with the insufficient funds we get,” said Devendra Rao, forest range officer, Gurgaon range. When the entire world is concerned about global warning such poor efforts by Gurgaon authority has raised questions on their sincerity. “They should not count how many tree they have planted but the main focus should be on how many have survived. Existing norms are not really helping the State’s efforts to increase Haryana’s forest cover. The State did not even meet the 10 percent target which it had set for itself, ”Vivek Kamboj, an environmentalist, said.