The area can boast of experiencing at least four degrees Centigrade less than the city

It is love at first sight for all those who step into Ukkunagaram, the spacious township of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. This is particularly true when all the areas are feeling the pinch of summer whereas Ukkunagaram can boast of experiencing at least four degree C less than the city.

The greenery raised by the management of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of VSP is such that one will find the difference in its temperature the moment they arrive here. In fact, the difference in climatic condition is typified by the sudden change after crossing the Kurmannapalem junction.

Very often, VSP officials describe the township as ‘Greens Paradise.’ The greenery is so lush that from various parts of the township, the massive steel plant is not visible as there is green canopy everywhere. The company is adopting several methods and techniques for clean and green environment in and around the plant.

While producing steel, RINL, not only deals with blast furnaces but also provides cool and clean environment to its workforce in the plant and its township. Due to thick vegetation and excellent sea breeze, all those settled in the township will be reluctant to shift after transfer or retirement.

“The environmental practices in VSP resulted in lower temperature of 4-5 degrees in Ukkunagaram than the city of Visakhapatnam,” a senior official told The Hindu. He said VSP had spent around Rs. 460 crore during Stage-I and is spending Rs. 1,150 crore for environmental protection in its expansion programme.

VSP has been developing appropriate management practices for agro forestry trees for the production of poles, fuel wood fodder, green mulch, fruits and naturally grown trees to produce bio-diesel and timber on its farmland.

Green belt

The plant surpassed the national norm of covering 33 per cent of green belt area of the total land of 3,600 hectares by achieving plantation of 41 per cent.

So far, VSP planted various types of trees of around 48 lakh including 26 lakh in green belt area and 22 lakh in other than green belt area.

VSP will plant 6.3 million trees by 2013-14 by the time 6.3 million tonne expansion expansion project stabilises. The green belt covers plantation all around the VSP land boundary to a width of 500 meters. Another highlight is developing of various types of fruit trees in each residential quarter in the township.

Around 24 lakh casurina trees have been raised effectively to act as wind barriers during cyclones and tsunami as the plant is located close to the sea.

Several varieties of species including AA Formis, eucalyptus, mango, coconut, cashew, guava, salvadora, neem, babul and teak have been planted to contain air pollution and carbon sequestration.

VSP obtained the know-how from ITC, Badrachalam for plantation of eucalyptus clones numbering 2.5 lakh trees.

A significant highlight is the plantation of around 4.45 lakh species of palmyrah, pongamiea and jatropha to produce bio-diesel.

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