The Kolkata Environmental Improvement Project (KEIP),with funds from the Asian Development Bank (ADB),is gearing up to convert the 41 km stretch along the banks of the citys canals into a a green strip.
Though the idea is being worked upon since last year,the project will begin from Monday,as the agency will begin its forestation drive along the canals to protect the water systems from soil erosion and clogging.
The stretch includes the banks of Churial (11.5 km),Monikhali (3.8 km),Begore (2.7 km) and Tollygunge- Panchannagram Basin (23 km).
With an estimated cost of Rs 1.28 crore,the plantation is expected to be over within the next few months.
It (the project) has a three-pronged objective to make sure that the locals do not resettle on the banks,to prevent erosion of banks and maintain the ecological balance. The canals are the heart of the drainage system in the city, said Vivek Bharadwaj,project director.
The KEIP has taken suggestions and technical aid from the forest department.
The plantation drive will include fruit-bearing trees like mango,guava,jackfruit,special forest species like arjun,amla,mahua and haritaki and flower plants like ashoke,bakul and jarul.
Nearly 40,000 saplings will be planted by the end of the project period. The KEIP officials are trying to rope in the local schools and communities in their drive.
The canals have been dredged and desilted,but officials feel that to maintain water flow for effective drainage into the river,the banks should be preserved. The project will also include construction of sheds,pathways and bamboo fencing.