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news details
No accountability on purchase of saplings
Greenery on roads missing
7/24/2019 12:54:51 AM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Early Times Report

Srinagar, July 23: Every year crores of rupees are spent on planting saplings, trees are not visible on the roads in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir was one of the richest states across India with regard to flora and fauna. Despite government's claims about planting trees along the roads but not much is visible on the roads.
An official of Forest Department said government has been spending crores on plantation every year but fails to keep its maintenance. "The concerned departments are facing shortage of staff to keep the maintenance. There are also allegations about misappropriation of funds in purchasing saplings," the official said.
The National Green Tribunal has also rapped the National Highways Authority of India for not maintaining the mandatory green cover along national and state highways.
However, not much plants are along roads in the state. Even the government has failed to plant trees along the highways, which is mandatory as per National Green Tribunal directives.
In Srinagar and Jammu, major roads are without greenery.
The Government has been spending a huge amount of money on planting trees and saplings to beautify the streets of Srinagar and Jammu. However, the saplings dry or are stolen.
Now under an ambitious participatory plantation initiative, the government has set up a target of planting more than 2 lakh saplings cross Srinagar city during current year.
As per the finalized scheme of greening initiative, 50,000 chinar saplings will be planted in institutional areas, avenues and will be provided to individual households.
"There are allegations about misappropriation of funds in purchasing saplings," the official said.
Governor Satya Pal Malik has also said that those in-charge of the state's forests have made millions through dubious means.
"See the bungalows in Vasant Vihar or Maharani Bagh in Delhi of those who worked in the Forest Department. I know several families who have made millions as they had the charge of Forests. The forests of Jammu and Kashmir have been destroyed painfully. They are our lungs and we are alive because of them," the Governor said.
The government has now set up a target to plant at least 50,00000 saplings in Kashmir till June next year.
"The government has also decided to plant 50 thousand Chinar saplings in addition to some 1.50 lac other tree saplings in schools and institutional areas and along avenues across Srinagar during the first year. Plants exposed to public or vehicular movements are also being tree-guarded under the project," a government spokesperson in a statement said.
However, the official said there has to be accountability. "We have to check when and where the money has been spent on purchase of saplings," the official said.
Jammu and Kashmir has its forest cover stretching over 23,241 square kilometers, which is 10.46 per cent of its total geographical area of 1,01,387 square kilometers.
However, over one lakh kanals of forest area has been encroached in Kashmir.
An official of Forest Department said they have been facing stiff opposition for clearing forest from encroachers.
"Thousands of kanals have been encroached by bureaucrats, politicians and forces over the years. There are some powerful people who have been creating hurdles in eviction process," the official said.
A source said increase in forest fires also happen due to non-demarcation of forest land in the state. "Had the forests been demarcated in the state, less such incidents would have happened," the source said.
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