To make the city greener, four BJP MLAs of Surat have come forward with a proposal to the Surat Municipal Commissioner to use Rs 5 lakh from their MLA fund for tree guards in the ongoing tree plantation drive. Vivek Patel, MLA from Udhna, wrote a letter to the Municipal Commissioner M Thennarasan and garden superintendent SJ Gautam in this regard.
In the past 24 days, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) planted around 3.8 lakh trees in the city and fixed a target of 10 lakh trees by September 15 as part of a tree plantation drive launched on June 1 with an aim to give clean air to the citizens.
MLAs Vivek Patel from Udhna seat, Sangeeta Patil from Limbayat, Veenu Moradiya from Katargam and Praveen Ghoghari from Karanj spoke to the officials of the SMC’s garden department and expressed their wish to contribute Rs 5 lakh from their MLA funds for tree guards.
Gautam said, “Four BJP MLAs from Surat talked to me and told to use Rs 5 lakh from their funds. We received letter from one MLA and the letters from the remaining three are expected in a couple of days.”
Udhna MLA Vivek Patel told The Indian Express, “When I got to know that MLA funds can be used for the supply of tree guards, I wrote a letter to the Municipal Commissioner and garden superintendent, urging them to use Rs 5 lakh from my MLA fund for the same. We got to know that each tree guard costs around Rs 600.”
Vivek added, “Over 2,000 trees have been planted in my area at Bhedward in ward no. 27 of SMC with public participation. Majority of the areas where trees are planted are private areas. We have also planted trees on roadsides and street sideways. Before taking up the drive, we held a meeting with local residents of Pramukh Park Society and its neighbouring residential societies, urging the residents to participate in the tree plantation drive for which saplings were provided free of cost. We are also roping in colleges and private schools in our area. Local residents have promised to take take care of the trees on daily bases.”
World Health Organisation guildelines stipulate 15 per cent green cover in a city, to achieve which the SMC came up with a drive involving people. SMC’s garden department put up banners at different places calling for online application from residents who wanted to plant trees in their residential societies and private premises. They could also register in the mobile application.
SJ Gautam, garden department superintendent, said, “We received over 1,100 applications from people and we planted trees in several private residential societies. Some people personally approached the SMC. Our team goes in their areas and plant trees. In the past 24 days, we planted around 3.8 lakh trees in residential societies, roadside and other areas. We are sure that we will go much beyond the target. NGOs dealing with trees are also working with us in creating awareness among the people. We supply plants and even grow it free of cost. The local residents have to take care of it daily.”