Over 2,000 saplings planted under DM’s community driven plantation drive

Wednesday, 10 JULY 2024 | PURNIMA BISHT | DEHRADUN

Considering the soaring temperatures and relentless heat waves which swept across Dehradun this year, residents are acutely reminded of the crucial role trees and greenery play in their lives. Over recent years, the city has witnessed a significant decline in its green cover, exacerbating the effects of the heat in a valley which was known for cool climate. In response to the growing concern and to resonate with the people’s sentiments on the importance of environmental conservation, the Dehradun district magistrate Sonika launched the Harit Dehradun initiative. This ambitious programme aims to rejuvenate the city’s green landscape and foster a renewed commitment to preserving its natural beauty. This initiative is unique compared to past ones, as the district administration is not identifying lands for plantation but rather asking locals to tell them where they want the administration to plant saplings. It has been about a month since the announcement of this initiative and the administration has received a total of 392 applications so far. The administration has planted 2,182 saplings and plants so far, according to the DM. She said that these plants are planted in vacant places in Haridwar Bypass, GMS Road, Sahaspur, Shimla Bypass, Amwala, Kewal Vihar, Mothrowala, Kuthal Gate, Harbanswala, Vikasnagar, Selaqui, Vasant Vihar, Shiv Mandir Road, Yamuna Colony and ISBT colony. “The locals asked us to plant saplings or plants in the vacant places near their houses where they can take care of them. Some asked us to plant in vacant spots just outside their houses. Our team visited the place and proceeded with the plantation after finding it suitable. We also ask people what they prefer to grow there, such as a fruit tree, a normal tree or a neem tree. The teams check the soil and other factors and then plant the saplings accordingly,” Sonika said. On the question of how the administration is planning to ensure that the saplings grow into healthy trees, she said that the administration is monitoring the situation regularly. “I am aware that taking care of saplings is crucial for a successful plantation drive. Since our whole initiative is community-driven, people are quite keen and responsible to take care of the saplings planted in their locality. My teams have been monitoring the plants and observed that they are being taken care of by the persons who asked the administration to plant them there. I myself visited various locations multiple times and saw these saplings flourishing. People are invested in these saplings and are taking good care of them as they were planted as per their demands. However, the departments concerned will take care of the saplings planted near main roads like Haridwar Bypass and Shimla Bypass,” she said. Those who wish to join this initiative and want the administration to plant saplings in vacant places can call on 18001802525, she added. Many people from environmental groups also appreciated this move but added that the administration should also work on preventing unnecessary concretisation of roadside areas to ensure a long term impact of the drive. A member of Citizens For Green Doon (CFGD) Himanshu Arora said, “The administration should also work on other factors like minimising edge to edge concretisation of roads and proper guarding of saplings to revive the city. Otherwise, seeking new places for plantation while concretising every inch of the land will be a big irony.”

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