Government campaign sows seed of green revolution

You can not miss the signboards propped up on medians at prominent localities in the city, flashing messages of planting trees, and urging residents to avoid using plastics. With going green being the new watchword, efforts in creating awareness of increasing green cover have paid off. Sticking to the method of leading by example, the State government's recent announcement of a mass sapling plantation campaign has earned appreciation from many, irrespective of political barriers.

The campaign was launched in all the districts on February 24, birthday of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The State Forest Department in association with the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board will embark on the task of planting 64 lakh seedlings of various fast growing species outside the forest area in the state.

Students, consumer organisations, environmentalists, and voluntary organisations, have voiced a positive opinion on the move.

The area of focus will be campuses of educational institutions, industrial units prone to pollution, government offices, besides national and state highways. The Forest Department will supply and plant tree seedlings in institutions and offices for free of cost. The unique distinction of this project is that even private concerns have been taken into account for the drive. While in the past, mass sapling planting campaigns have failed to reap desired results due to lack of proper upkeep, this time the government is keen on identifying the right places to ensure that plants are maintained. For instance, institutions with compound walls are chosen for planting saplings to ensure proper upkeep. A hawk's eye will be kept on all the saplings to ensure regular watering and maintenance.

With the Chief Minister evincing interest in the initiative, the Tiruchi district administration and the Forest Department lost no time in organising preliminary works for the planting of 1.6 lakh seedlings in the district. Teams were formed to identify areas for the campaign, and for creating awareness among the public. The Pollution Control Board presented a list of industries prone to pollution, and the Forest teams visited the units and ascertained soil fertility of the places.

As soon as the project was announced a few months ago, the Forest Department swung into action, and raised seedlings at its nursery farms at Somarasampettai, Manapparai, Thuvarankurichi, and Thuraiyur.

Seedlings of tree species, including neem, pungan, kumil, aavi, gulmohar and naval were raised in these nurseries. Specific species of avenue trees were chosen as these floras are known for their fast growth and serene appearance.

Plant varieties that provide shade and enhance the face of the environment are being chosen, according to I.Anwardeen, District Forest Officer. Collector Jayashree Muralidharan took advantage of the opportunity to raise as many trees as possible in all the government offices across the district, and specific orders were given to officers of all the departments. Industrial houses situated in the district have come forward to provide tree guards.

The Cethar Ltd, Ramco Cement, Tiruchi Distilleries and Chemicals Limited, have already donated hundreds of tree guards and a few other corporate houses are in the row to provide assistance.

Even before this well designed project was launched, over 22,000 seedlings were planted at the Collectorate and other government offices under the ‘Tiruchi Green' campaign, thanks to the initiative of Ms. Jayashree Muralidharan.

The authorities are going all out to encourage people to participate in this campaign. The seedlings will be given free of cost to voluntary organisations and residents welfare associations too which agree for the proper maintenance of the trees, a forest officer said.

V. Sundararaju, former Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, based on his experience, says that more than planting, nursing a tree is important. The scheme should also ensure identification of individuals and fixing responsibility for the proper upkeep and growth of trees.

The authorities should take all initiative to motivate the people for the success of this project. The nearby individual or institution should be involved for the maintenance of the trees planted in public places. If possible , individuals and institutions should be honoured in recognition of their efforts , says Mr. Sundararaju.

Similarly, educational institutions should give responsibility of maintaining plants to the students , he adds.

A concerted effort is the need of the hour for achieving the desired goals to check the hazards such as global warming . On the lines of Arivoli Iyakkam, pulse polio , tree planting should also become a mass movement, says V. R. Mathiazhagan, Professor of Economics, National College.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 10:52:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/government-campaign-sows-seed-of-green-revolution/article2935018.ece

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