In a novel move to create environmental awareness among the residents of New Town, West
Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) has decided to reward resident welfare groups who will plant tree saplings and maintain them properly.
The interested groups will have to plant saplings and give details, including photographs, to Nabadiganta Development Agency (NKDA) by August 15.
HIDCO officials will visit the spots after one year and give certificates or medals to groups with the highest number of survival. This is the first time such a move has been taken by a state government agency to reward groups for maintaining trees. Besides residents welfare groups, various office complexes have also shown keen interest. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged HIDCO authorities to turn New Town into a green city. The state forest department has decided to plant 40,000 tree saplings.
A meeting to discuss the matter was held between HIDCO officials and their counterparts in the forest department. HIDCO will identify the places where the saplings will be planted. It may be mentioned that New Town has already been declared a smart city and extensive plans will be made to make it a green one.
Environment friendly steps like rainwater harvesting and installation of solar panels have already been introduced and more such measures will be implemented in future. When HIDCO was set up in the 1990s by the erstwhile Left Front government, it did not make any plans to plant tree saplings. Several high-rises came up after filling up water bodies.
There was not a single tree along the Biswa Banga Sarani, which connects Sector V with City Centre II and beyond.
After coming to power in 2011, Mamata Banerjee gave stress on the total development of New Town.
Plans were made to supply drinking water and turning the area into a cultural, educational, business and health hub. Side by side schemes were made to plant trees and make the area an eco-friendly place. Eco Park is a classical move in this direction.
Several parks have come up and an area covering 960 acres in Action Area I will be developed as a pilot project, under the area-based Development head of the Smart City project where elaborate
measures will be taken to conserve environment.