Mamata to plant trees, lead similar drives across state
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will plant three neem trees, one jarul and one bakul tree at Harish Park in Bhowanipore to observe World Environment Day on Friday. The programme is being organised jointly by the state Environment, Forest department and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
The Chief Minister's official planting of trees will mark the beginning of the state government's plan to plant 3.5 crore trees throughout Bengal to compensate for the damage to the green cover due to Amphan that hit the state on May 20.
"We plant around 3.5 crore trees every year. This year, we will plant another 3.5 crore more across the state for augmenting the green cover. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already announced that 5 crore mangroves will be planted in the Sunderbans," said Saumen Mahapatra, the state Environment minister.
The state Forest department is formulating two separate policies — one for urban and another for rural areas — so that plantation drives can be carried out in a scientific manner.
"We are beginning plantation in the urban areas from Friday. We have already started handing over trees to the municipalities in the urban areas. We will be planting neem, deodar, jarul and bakul varieties as we have learnt from Amphan experience that most of these species have survived the high wind speed," said Rajib Banerjee, the state Forest minister.
The Forest department, the Environment department and the Parks & Squares wing of the KMC have demarcated various roads and stretches in the city to carry out the plantation drives. "We have plans for Park Street, Chowringhee, Ruby area, Ballygunge Circular Road, Gariahat and Syed Amir Ali Avenue," said Banerjee.
Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma will organise a tree plantation programme at the Police Athletic Club on Friday.
As per the assessment of the Forest department, greenery spanning across an area of 1600 square metres and 1.6 lakh hectare land has been damaged by Amphan. Preliminary survey has identified 16 lakh trees that have been uprooted in the districts of North and South 24-Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Howrah and Nadia. Jhargram, North and South Dinajpur and Malda have also seen partial damage to the green cover.
Calculations have revealed that 11 crore carbon units have been lost due to this massive loss in greenery.
Environment experts in the state said tidal waves have eroded landmass leading to the depletion of mangroves and the inundation of saline water. Climate change has already made the fragile ecosystem of the area more vulnerable.