Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’s ambitious plans to make Maharashtra green again seem to be well on track with the state having already planted 29 crore saplings till August 30 this year. The Fadnavis led government had set an ambitious target of planting 29 crore saplings this year. It must be noted that the state of Maharashtra has been progressively moving in the direction of going green over the past few years.
In 2017, the state had set a target of planting 4 crore trees. The target was revised to 13 crore in the year 2018 and further to 33 crore in the ongoing year. This is part of the Harit Maharashtra (Green Maharashtra) drive which had been initiated by the state government in 2016 at the initiative of the Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. He had drawn up plans to plant 50 crore trees over four years. The state started with a target of 2 crore saplings in the first year. They exceeded the target as Maharashtra planted 2.82 crore saplings in that year.
Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has truly raised the bar and has stepped on the accelerator in a bid to achieve a highly ambitious target of 33 per cent forest cover in the state in line with the National Forest Policy, 2018. The success story in achieving a humongous tree cover in Maharashtra is based not only upon the ambitious targets set by the state government but also a focused approach and all the strategic planning that has gone behind it.
The process of intense plantation began with the government taking stock of the available land appropriate for planting saplings across the 36 districts in the state. The government, as well as the private agencies, were brought together on a common platform. The target area was identified and pre-planting operations were meticulously carried out to ensure that the target area was in full readiness for plantation before the advent of monsoons.
The energies of key departments- the Forest Department, the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra and the Social Forestry Wing were synergised to achieve the ambitious target. Moreover, a massive awareness outreach campaign and a ‘Harit Sena’ (Green Army) initiative to register volunteers, worked wonders with a phenomenal growth of 62 lakh volunteers. The state government, therefore, managed to make the mission a mass movement.
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) July 1, 2019
Finally, the plantation drive has been made transparent with a system of online monitoring of the drive.
Every plantation site is recorded with its geographic coordinates on a GIS platform along with geo tagged photographs that are uploaded. With such meticulous planning and extensive focus, the state government has managed to catch the imagination of the masses that has made this plantation drive a success.
In the first year, the state government managed to exceed its target as stated above. Even in 2017, a total of 5.17 crore trees were planted far exceeding the target of 4 crore. The same trend continued in 2018 when the state planted 15.17 crore trees as against a target of 13 crore trees. Even in the ongoing year, the state looks set to not only achieve its target but also to exceed it. The state has managed to maintain very good numbers until now and seems to be going well on track. With this plantation drive, the Fadnavis led government has successfully managed to bring about a huge change and quickly move in the direction of making Maharashtra green again.
It is ironic how only recently the construction of a metro car depot in Aarey colony of Mumbai, gripped social media. It must be noted that despite the apex court clearing the project, environmental concerns blown out of proportion and coordinated protests across Mumbai have forced the project to halt when it comes to the construction of the metro car shed. A misinformation campaign, therefore, brought an infrastructure project of public importance to halt.
In such circumstances, the massive plantation drive that is augmenting the green cover of Maharashtra exposes those who have been ‘propagating falsehoods’ about environmental degradation due to the said metro project.