: The Delhi government is planning to set itself the ambitious goal of planting 15 lakh new trees in financial year 2016-17, even though it is yet to achieve last year’s target of planting 13 lakh trees.
As of Saturday — less than a week till the end of this financial year — the government is “30,000 trees short of the target” set for FY 2015-16.
In the budget for 2016-17, which will be presented on Monday, the Environment and Forest Department will set the target of planting 15 lakh new saplings.
Though Finance Minister Manish Sisodia’s budget speech last year had set the target at 12 lakh saplings, it was revised to 14 lakh, before the government settled on around 13 lakh trees.
“As of mid-March we were 30,000 trees short of our target. The data from all the agencies involved in plantation are yet to be obtained, but we will achieve 13 lakh by March 31,” said a senior government official.
According to sources, the budgetary allocation for environment will be similar to last year’s.
With the AAP government starting a campaign for clean air with car-free days and road rationing scheme, the environment has become one of the important areas of action in the past year.
Though there is unlikely to be any big investment in terms of allocations for the Environment and Forest Department, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, which is funded separately, is planning to set up ambient air quality monitoring stations.
The Environment Department also has the independently-funded Air Ambience Fund, which it plans on using for encouraging the use of electric vehicles.