Chief Minister Jayalalithaa planted a banyan sapling on the Marina beach opposite the Presidency College on Wednesday to mark the launch of yet another massive tree plantation drive in the State.

The scheme of planting 65 lakh saplings is part of her 65th birthday celebrations. The birthday of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is on February 24.

According to a press release, the decision to plant 65 lakh saplings has been taken following the success of last year’s drive covering 64 lakh saplings across the State.

In the first phase, 2.08 lakh saplings of a number of species would be planted in all the districts of the State. Each of the districts will get 6500 saplings in the first phase. Work on planting the saplings on the first phase will begin on February 24 and end by February 28.

Most of the saplings in Chennai would be planted in parks, along interior roads and bus routes of the Chennai Corporation and other government agencies. Trained personnel will be given responsibility of guarding the saplings from damage in most urban areas. Residents and beneficiaries of the scheme will be given responsibility of watering the saplings in areas where personnel cannot be appointed.

The remaining saplings would be planted only in July after the onset of the south west monsoon in some parts of the State in June. After the onset of the north east monsoon later this year in most of the districts in the State, a chunk of the remaining tree saplings are expected to be planted. All the saplings will be planted by December.

Species chosen

The saplings to be planted include banyan, neem, mantharai, illuppai, poovarasu, punnai, mahilam and pungan. Tree species that would survive tropical drought conditions have been chosen for the scheme.

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