At least 25 acres required in which 1,111 plants are provided

The city and suburbs have been acquiring such a concrete hue that the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) is finding it hard to locate required land parcels for its afforestation works.

The HMDA, in its erstwhile form as Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA), took up massive afforestation initiatives in different parts of the city and suburbs primarily focusing on vast open spaces. Various institutions such as the Air Force Academy, Chest Hospital and BHEL were covered under it and even concepts such as planting one lakh saplings in one day were worked out.

But now, the Authority has no way of securing such open land to take up what is called ‘block plantations' and has to restrict its initiatives to avenue plantations. As an official pointed out, no large plantation could be taken up in the last two to three years. “In its growth, the city is getting saturated of appropriate open spaces that are needed for afforestation,” he said.

Apart from university campuses in city and suburbs, the HMDA provides green cover for Ordnance Factory at Eddumailaram, Air Force campus at Dundigal and Institute of Mental Health at Erragadda among several others. “Then we afforested more than 30,000 acres but now our hands are tied given the lack of available space required,” says P. Rajender Reddy, Director, HMDA Urban Forestry.

For block plantation, the HMDA looks for at least 25 acres in which 1,111 plants are provided for each hectare. Basically, rain-fed plants are used and the species include ‘kanuga', ‘ficus', ‘neem', ‘usiri' and in some instances ‘desi' variety of mangoes.

While taking up such afforestation, an undertaking is taken from those in charge of the campus that the plantation would not be disturbed in any fashion at least for a period of 10 years. “We raise and nurture the plants for three years and then hand the planted area to the owners or managers of the place,” says Mr. Reddy.

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