ANDHRA PRADESH

Women groups set to gain from HUDA's green programme

Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad Urban Development Authority's Green Hyderabad Environment Programme (GHEP) is in safe hands, that of women groups who are the stakeholders.

And what more, block plantations taken up by HUDA in degraded reserve forest areas, waste lands etc., for increasing the green cover to act as `Carbon Sink' for absorbing hazardous gases, will give handsome yields to the groups.

A variety of plant species including `Kanuga'(botanical name - Pongamia Pinnata), a bio-diesel yielding tree, bamboo, tamarind, `Usiri', `Vippa' and fruit-yielding varieties like Sitaphal are already thriving across 5,100 hectares of block plantations. The women groups, along with HUDA, will be part of a tripartite agreement with the Chennai-based Southern Online Group to set up a bio-diesel plant at Choutuppal in Nalgonda district, discloses HUDA's Urban Forestry Executive Director, K.S. Reddy. The Pongamia plantations will be attached to women's groups for collection of pods. A tree of 7 to 10 years age will yield about 5 kg of seeds that in turn could be converted into one litre of diesel priced at Rs. 32.

Sale of seed

Even if one kg of seed is sold at Rs. 5, each tree will give Rs. 25 worth seed and there are over 3-lakh trees. This is the yield from only one species. There are other varieties like bamboo, tamarind, `Usiri' which yield good revenue too in a couple of years.

GHEP, funded by the Netherlands Government, will continue till 2006. But with increasing awareness levels and participatory approach of individuals and stakeholders, the programme is sure to sustain, says Mr. Reddy.

A systematic enumeration of all saplings in the block plantations, row-wise and as per species is recorded in the `Plantation Journal'. The plants are inspected twice a year in June and December to monitor their growth and record the survival rate.