Thursday, August 05, 2021

Chandigarh

Chandigarh becomes the greenest city in Asia

YS RANA | June 19, 2021 10:19 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh City is growing greener by the day and the density of its green cover too is getting intense. With 35.7 per cent forest cover in 2010 as compared to 29.3 per cent in 2003 and only 21 per cent in 1991.

Chandigarh has increased its green cover to 41 per cent in 2017 and 46 per cent in 2019 exceeded the 33 per cent target set by the National Forest Policy of India as per the India State of Forests Report-2019. The density of forest cover too has increased in some pockets to more than 60 per cent. Apparently, the results of the Greening Chandigarh Action Plans launched by the Chandigarh Administration have started kicking in. Buoyed up by the outcome, the UT Forest Department has set new targets of plantation in the action plan 2021-22.

According to official data, in 2019-20, the greening agencies have achieved their plantation target of 2.50 lakh saplings; 1.50 lakh of stem culling and three lakh patch sowings. Recently, the Chandigarh Administration has released ‘Green Chandigarh Action Plan 2021-22’ that has envisaged 1.75 saplings to be planted during this fiscal. The plan also targets plantation assigned to the Forest Department is 75, 000 saplings and Horticulture Wing of Engineering Department is 40, 000 saplings and Municipal Corporation is 60, 000 saplings. Besides, the forest department will aldo distribute saplings to general public free in the city.

This sounds far more impressive when compared with the national figure. Out of its 114-square kilometers, the forest cover of UT is about 48.03 square kilometers and another 25 square kilometers area is under tree cover. The country has 20.3 per cent area under forest cover and three per cent under tree cover. There is incremental growth not only in the area under forests but also in their quality which is measured by density, said official of forest department.

On the other hand, 75 per cent of city energy requirements are met through renewable sources and city was declared as Model Solar City. The official of the Administration disclosed that city has already installed 35 MWp of roof top solar power plant.

The National Forest Policy of India lays down that 33 per cent of the total land mass should be brought under forest cover to maintain ecological balance and environmental cleanliness. “Chandigarh has exceeded the target despite the fact that it is mainly an urban area where construction activities are in abundance. The city has not only recorded its year-on-year growth of forest cover but also increased the density of forests, ” said the official.

The department has formed more than 117 eco-clubs in government and private schools and 29 environmental societies in high institutions of Chandigarh to spread awareness about the importance of envcironment and eco-friendly activities.

True, the hard work of all involved in procting the environment swupplemented by sustained campaign and much needed technical inputs have contributed to the overall growth that has shown signs of strong recovery in the recent years. The Greeing Chandigarh Action Plan 2021-22 further indicates that the forest growth in the priority list of the Chandigarh Administration and will pay dividend.

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