The massive 40 lakh tree plantation programme – Green Visakha – taken up by the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority has come in for praise.

Member-secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board Ravichandra, who reviewed the programme as chairman of the implementation committee here on Saturday, advised the participating corporates to select native species of plants in the plantation programme. As many as 22 public sector units and industrial units are participating in the programme being taken up by VUDA in coordination with the PCB, the GVMC and the district administration.

He advised the participating 22 public sector units and industrial units to plant saplings of 1.5-meter height to ensure better survival. A Project Monitoring Unit would be formed to monitor the implementation and extend necessary support to the Green Visakha Project, Mr Ravichandra said. The PMU would function from VUDA office as it had the required technical expertise, apart from manpower.

The district administration would earmark vacant lands, District Collector V Seshadri said describing the Green Visakha project as a nodal activity. He called upon the industries to diligently implement the project as it would have long-term benefits for all.

Colony associations would be involved in plantation activity to achieve targets and avenue plantation would be taken up on a large scale on all the roads within the GVMC limits, Commissioner of GVMC M V Satyanarayana said.

Stressing the issue of procurement of plants, Vice-Chairman of VUDA Kona Sasidhar suggested evolution of a policy of either developing own nurseries or engaging agencies in outsourcing for supply of saplings as the project required 40 lakh plants in five years. He urged the participating agencies to document the implementation of the project at all levels as there were many cities keen on learning from the experience of Green Visakha.

The meeting was attended by the District Collector, the GVMC Commissioner, the VUDA Vice Chairman, DFO of the VUDA BVA Krishna Murthy, officials of the Pollution Control Board and representatives of the participating industrial units.

The project spread over five years was mooted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Environment and Forests headed by T Subbarami Reddy with the prime objective of bringing down pollution levels in the city.