Vijayawada: The government’s ambitious plans to achieve 50 per cent green cover in the state remains a dream in the absence of any action to achieve the goal. The forest department is lagging behind in the Vanam-Manam initiative launched by the AP government to increase the green cover in the state.
The forest department was entrusted with planting 6.65 crore saplings. It has achieved 20 per cent of the task with only 1.38 crore plants on the ground. The progress of the targets given to other departments is even worse. The district water management agency (DWMA) was given a target of 42.74 lakh plantations but it has reached only 2.92 lakh, which is only 6.8 per cent.
The forest department has claimed it has reached more than the intended target in developing stocks with the nurseries. According to the data on the CM’s dashboard, for a target of developing 15.02 crore saplings, it has 15.88 crore saplings in stock. However, the utilisation of the stocks was only 44.5 per cent.
Moreover, there is no clarity as to how many plants have survived, as there’s no supervision after the saplings were planted. The government has announced that all the tress were geo-tagged and the self-help groups are entrusted with the protection of these trees. However, the situation on the ground tells a different story. At many places where the mass plantation drive was taken up, the plants have withered.
At Kotturu Tadepalli where CM Chandrababu Naidu himself participated in the plantation drive, a handful of plants have survived. Only the saplings planted on either side of the pathway, watered occasionally, have survived but without any growth even after almost a year.
The government is facing criticism on conducting mass plantation programmes without considering practicality.
Environmentalist Duggaraju Srinivasarao has observed that planting 1 crore saplings on a single day is next to impossible. It needs at least 30 sq ft of space for a canopy to grow, but the saplings were planted without leaving even 10 sq ft. As a result, most of them have died. These are all namesake exercises with school children, which all the same provides photo opportunities for ministers.