By R.K. Goyal
| Union Urban Development Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad launching
City Forest Scheme, at Faridabad, while Chief Minister,
Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and MLA, Ms. Shanta Rathore look on.
The Union Government has launched a special afforestation scheme in the NC Region to increase the green cover to counter the problems associated with growing pollution and haphazard urban development. Although part of the funds will be released by the Centre, the major responsibility for implementation of the scheme will lie with the State government.
This was stated by Union Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Ghulam Nabi Azad while launching the City Forest Scheme in Faridabad, Haryana, recently.
Speaking at a public meeting after planting a tree under the scheme, Mr Azad said that development of the NCR was a dream of the late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. He further said that the fast development of cities like Gurgaon and Noida in the past few years had resulted in fast depletion of the green cover in the area.
He pointed out that a survey about 10 years ago had revealed that the green cover in the NCR was merely 4 per cent while the target was at least 10 per cent.
He said the idea of developing the City Forest Scheme in the NCR was based on the concept of increasing the number of trees in comparison to the population and urban development. The total cost of the scheme would be around Rs. 67.10 lakh, of which the NCR Planning Board had sanctioned about Rs 12 lakh, while the rest of the share was to be borne by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).
About 24,000 plants of various varieties would be planted on land measuring about 24 hectares. The Union Government would release about Rs 50,000 per hectare as financial aid to the respective State governments.
Earlier addressing the gathering, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda welcomed the launching of the scheme from the State. He said Faridabad had been a premier industrial township of Haryana and it required measures for proper development, including steps to contain growing pollution. He said plantation had become a basic necessity and it was the duty of everyone to plant a sapling and take care of it.
He said that a feasibility study of extending the metro train to Faridabad city had been ordered by the State government.
Prominent among those who were present included Smt Shakuntla Jajhu, IAS, Financial Commissioner, Shri S.S. Dhillon IAS, Chief Administrator HUDA Panchkula, Shri Sudhir Rajpal, Administrator, HUDA Faridabad, Smt G. Anupama, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad, Shri H.C. Jain, SDM, Ballabgarh, Shri A.C. Chaudhary, Shri Mahendra Partap, former ministers and all MLAs from Faridabad district, Mayor of Faridabad, Smt Brahamwati Khatana.