GHMC’s plantation drive hits a roadblock in Rajendranagar

GHMC’s plantation drive hits a roadblock in Rajendranagar

  • Charminar zone struggles with declining vegetation targets, complaints
  • Green cover promotion relies heavily on corporate CSR initiatives

Rangareddy: Unlike in the past, when the GHMC’s Urban Biodiversity Wing worked proactively to promote urban forestry in the city and surrounding areas, no such proactive planning is being witnessed when it comes to picking up suitable spaces to promote green cover.

The promotion of vegetation in the Charminar zone, especially in Rajendra Nagar circle, runs into rough weather as the volume of targets is found to have declined compared to previous years, while people in many colonies are found complaining of a lack of vegetation in their habitations, despite efforts by officials primarily from the Forest Department within the UBD wing working on implementation.

What visibly appears is that the whole green cover promotion in the city and bordering districts squarely depends on corporate firms willing to take up plantation drives under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), while the participation of civic bodies is completely missing.

The Charminar zone, which covers mostly the South part of the city, consists of six circles that include Malakpet Circle 6, Santosh Nagar Circle 7, Chandrayangutta Circle 8, Charminar Circle 9, Falaknuma Circle 10, and Rajendra Nagar Circle 11. It is found that the whole UBD activity in the Charminar zone is confined to the development of parks and open places, without any ambitions to roll out beautification plans for colonies.

Among them, Rajendra Nagar Circle portrays a dismal picture where only one major plantation drive was witnessed last year, which too was found to be an illogical move to serve the very purpose.

It is learned that the UBD officials provided 11,000 saplings in one go to the College of Horticulture, standing close to the nursery run by the UBD Rajendra Nagar circle led by manager Prasanna Kumar.

The authorities in the Charminar zone claimed to have achieved a 75 per cent plantation target last year. According to Ameena Bi, the Deputy Director of UBD Charminar Zone, “A target of 14 lakh saplings has been fixed during the years 2023–24, of which 10.71 lakh seedlings were planted, which equates to over 75 per cent of the target achieved last year.”

Apart from developing multi generation theme parks in Katedan, Golden Heights Colony, Rajendra Nagar, Santosh Nagar, IS Sadan, and beautification work in Chaderghat, she said, a few distribution programmes were also organised at school and during festivals. This year, the target was cut short to nearly six lakh, which includes the distribution of one lakh saplings.

“Although there is no sufficient place left in the city, especially in the Charminar zone, to take up plantation drives, we are doing whatever we find appropriate to boost the green cover,” she explained.

When asked about a dismal performance of UBD wing in Rajendra Nagar circle, the Deputy Director said that the circle authorities took up only major plantation drive last year wherein 11,000 saplings of fruits and forest species were provided to College of Horticulture located close to the UBD nursery at Premavathipet village under Rajendra Nagar.

However, the plant enthusiasts found no element of plausibility in the authorities' move to approve forest saplings for the College of Horticulture, which is mandated to propagate fruit-bearing trees that again help promote vegetation on their own.

“The College of Horticulture Rajendra Nagar runs under the direct supervision of Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticulture University (SKLTSHU), which researches and propagates trees of fruit bearings in all of its facilities and academic institutions across the State. If the UBD is filling up the open spaces of the facilities helmed by the Horticulture Department, what task does the SKLTSHU have in its hands to bring the best out of its research?” asks Mahender, a social activist.

Although the officials claim to have plantation drives despite the city and surrounding areas turning into concrete jungles, leaving no place to plant saplings, the people, especially the plant enthusiasts, say the UBD officials lack any vision or enthusiasm towards promoting green cover in their operational areas, especially in Rajendra Nagar.

“Leave alone door-to-door distribution of saplings, the UBD authorities at Rajendra Nagar were found less enthusiastic about taking up plantation drives. Earlier, the plantation drives were taken up along with the provision of tree guards.

Now neither the tree guards are being provided nor the door-to-door distribution of saplings is being taken up anywhere in the city, especially in Rajendra Nagar,” said Syed Shoukat Ali, a community activist.

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