A tall tree nursery has been inaugurated on the canal bank opposite Upasanasthal in New Town.
State Forest Minister Benoy Krishna Burman and Debashis Sen, Chairman of West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) were present during the inauguration ceremony, along with senior officials of state Forest department.
The department has planned to plant 40,000 saplings in New Town. Ten thousand pits have been dug and they will require two days of rain to fill them up, after which planting of saplings on a massive scale will begin from July 25.
Neem, tentul (tamarind) and other varieties of trees will be planted all over New Town, which the West Bengal government has planned to turn into a ‘green city’.
HIDCO has rented out land along the canal bank to set up nurseries. Tall trees will be planted on all roads.
New Town was developed after filling up several water bodies and felling of thousands of trees. Housing complexes came up and the main road – now known as Biswa Banga Sarani – connecting Sector V with VIP Road was constructed during the Left Front regime. But no concrete steps were taken to plant saplings and give the newly-developed city a green cover.
There was not a single tree on the main road until five years ago. Environmentalists had requested the erstwhile Left Front government to plant saplings in the township to maintain ecological balance. But the government turn a deaf ear to their please.
The situation, however, improved with the change of guard in 2011. After coming to power, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government gave special attention to develop the area. A large water body, covering 100-odd acres, was properly utilised and on its bank Prakriti Tirtha, popularly known as Eco Park, was set up.
The park is unique and has recorded a footfall of over 50 lakh since its inception. New Town is a classic example of balance between nature and development. HIDCO is allotting 10 per cent more floor area ratio (FAR) to builders ready to set up ‘green buildings’. These buildings will have rain and waste water harvesting structures and solar panels.