As many as 48.91 lakh seedlings have been planted in Pune district by various agencies, including the Forest department, as part of the ‘Green Maharashtra’ drive, which commenced on July 1, officials said. They added that in some talukas like Indapur and Baramati, which have not received sufficient rainfall, the plantation drive has not picked up and may require special efforts.
Across the state, 33 crore trees are to be planted as part of this drive and Pune district has been given a target of 1.57 crore. A total of 57 agencies, including government departments, local bodies, NGOs, and private individuals, have been allotted sapling plantation targets. As of Saturday evening, 48,92,018 saplings have been planted, which are 29.67 per cent of the total target for the district.
Of the total target, Forest department agencies, including the Territorial Wing, Social Forestry, Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (FDCM) and the Wildlife Department, are supposed to plant 81.66 lakh saplings. Non-forest agencies, which include gram panchayats, the Agriculture Department and civic bodies among others, are supposed to plant 76.02 lakh saplings by the end of September this year.
However, lack of sufficient rainfall has slowed down the progress of the drive in some talukas. For example, in Indapur, where the target is 18,69,164 saplings, only 62,920 (3.38 per cent) have been planted so far. In Baramati, which has a target of 13,44,932 saplings, only 1,65,296 (12.29 per cent) have been planted so far. Velhe (18.54 per cent), Haveli (20.27 per cent) and Daund (20.73 per cent) are among the talukas that are lagging behind. However, Ambegaon and Junnar have taken the lead in the drive, with 49.75 per cent and 47.66 per cent of the target saplings having been planted, respectively.
Sreelakshmi A, deputy conservator of forests (Pune), said that talukas where the plantation drive has been adversely affected due to shortage of rainfall must be given special attention. “We will wait for a few days, and if the situation doesn’t improve (in these areas), we will start ‘dry plantation’ by dipping the roots of the saplings in organic solutions so that they can hold in longer.”
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, the Pune Circle, which comprises of Pune and Solapur districts, will fall short of the target by 1.58 lakh trees due to shortage of land.
In 2016, the Forest department had launched the ‘Green Maharashtra’ drive with an aim of planting 50 crore trees across the state. According to the department, it has planted 19 crore saplings between 2016 and 2018.