Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will inaugurate the week-long Banmahotsav programme by planting tree saplings in New Town on July 14. The state forest department will plant 14,000 tree saplings as part of the programme. The state government has proposed to make New Town a Green City. West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) has already taken steps to provide green cover to city with intensify eco0friendly measures to make the area pollution free.
When the erstwhile Left Front government set up HIDCO in the 1990s, with former chief secretary Sanjay Mitra as its first managing director, no scheme was taken to make the city green. The primary aim of HIDCO was to sell land and construct a road connecting Salt Lake. New Town looked like a desert with a couple of tall buildings coming up at different places. No steps were taken to plant trees along the road, now known as Biswa Banga Sarani. Many trees were uprooted and no policy was formulated to replace them. However, the scenario changed after Mamata Banerjee became the chief minister in 2011. Eco Park, which she renamed as Prakriti Tirtha, has attracted more than 50 lakh people since its inception. The park has a water body which has been preserved. Road side trees have been planted and children’s park and senior citizens’ park have come up.
The area is now functioning as the lungs of Kolkata. Steps have already been taken to set up nurseries to raise tall trees which would be set up along the canal. Schemes have been taken to set up a dedicated pathway for cyclists and introduce electric buses and cars to reduce carbon emission. Green buildings are coming up in the area, where energy efficient measures are being taken. The HIDCO has also decided to replace sodium vapour lamps with LED lamps in phases.