Rodrigues launches massive plantation drive

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Chandigarh, Feb 18 (UNI) Setting a target for the plantation of one million trees for the current year in Chandigarh, Administrator, Union Territory, Gen (Retd) S F Rodrigues, today launched a massive afforestation programme by planting a sapling of Krishan peepal (ficus krishnae) and releasing Green Chandigarh Action Plan 2008, here today.

Mrs Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor also planted a sapling on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Gen Rodrigues strongly advocated the need for a partnership with the people to check environmental degradation and to ensure sustainable and equitable development in the Union Territory.

He said the Chandigarh Administration has launched over 200 programmes to strengthen the development infrastructure and for improving the quality of life of its people, supported with an effective monitoring system to avoid slippage.

General Rodrigues said that a world-class Aquarium was being set up near Sukhna lake as a part of our strategies to add eco-friendly features in the Sukhna Catchment Area.

He emphasised the need of incorporating afforestation and environmental planning programmes in all educational institutions and integrating them with the academic curriculum.

General Rodrigues said Chandigarh has a green cover in 35.6 per cent of its total area and more land must be brought under it by identifying vacant spaces, especially in education institutions for planting flowering trees for the beautification of the City.

The Green Action Plan released by the Administrator, today, stated that during the year 2007-08, 149723 saplings were planted against a target of 109170 in the Union Territory.

Besides planting 10 lakh saplings in the Union Territory, there is a programme of free distribution of 25,000 sapling of trees, shrubs and herbs by the Forest Department, distribution or selling of 15,000 saplings of ornamental, flowering and fruit trees by horticulture wings, organisation of massive plantation drives in schools, colleges, residential colonies, villages, hospitals and other public-private lands, establishment of herbal gardens and protection of existing trees and replacement of dead or dying diseased trees.

Special steps have been suggested in the report for post-planting care and control of pests through effective measures.

UNI JN AE KP1655

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