After this northeast monsoon, the city's green cover is set to expand with the Chennai Corporation and an NGO planning to plant 40,000 saplings.

“We will be planting over 20,000 saplings this rainy season and 3,300 of them with tree guards are ready,” said Mayor M.Subramanian. “The support of non-governmental organisations also will be crucial in making the city greener this monsoon. Another 20,000 trees are being planted by Anandham Youth Foundation, an NGO, at locations identified by the Corporation,” he added.

The civic body has approved 11 varieties of flowering trees to be planted. They are: Cassia fistula, Lagerstroemia indica, Cordia sebestena, Spathodea companulata, Tabebuia avellanedae, Tabebuia Rosea, Thespesia populanea, Pongamia pinnata, jambulana, Peltophorum and Delonix.

Most of the trees selected for planting are 5 feet tall and this increases their survival rate, said S.Selva Kumar, a volunteer in the tree planting initiative.

The civic body has also written to the Forest Department to supply saplings to the NGO, which would also be responsible for maintenance of the saplings.

The Corporation is taking measures to plant most of the trees along the roads without disturbing the stormwater drain work in progress, as the roots of trees have the potential to harm the drains, said an official of the civic body.

The rest of the saplings would be planted in parks, office premises and playgrounds.

The cost of maintaining the saplings for the first one year is estimated to be Rs.1,000 each.

Normally, 60 per cent of the saplings planted on the road side would survive with regular watering. At least, 75 per cent of them on protected places such as office premises and parks survive, the official added.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012

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