Telangana Ku Haritha Haram is a flagship programme launched by CM KCR to improve the green cover in the state.

KCR dressed in white planting a sapling as part of Haritha Haram
news Environment Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 19:20

The Telangana government has spent a whopping Rs 4572.94 crore on the Haritha Haram since its launch in 2015. Under this flagship large-scale tree planting programme, 203 crore saplings were planted by the various departments of the government during the last five years. These statistics were revealed as a response to an RTI (Right to Information) filed by activist J Sudheer.

Telangana Ku Haritha Haram was launched with the aim to rejuvenate degraded forests and improve the green cover in the state. After Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao launched the programme on July 3, 2015, massive planting activities were taken up in institutional premises, religious places, housing colonies, community lands, municipalities and parks.

Sudheer filed the RTI to find out how much Telangana had spent on this initiative so far and other details regarding the programme. 

Expenses incurred by government

According to the reply received, the expenditure incurred in implementing Haritha Haram, from the launch of the programme up to September 4, 2020, is Rs 45,72,94,00,000. The RTI revealed that a majority of the funds were spent by the Rural Development Department. The Forest Department, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) were the other departments that have spent money on the programme.

Donation received for Haritha Haram

Out of Rs 4572.94 crore spent on the programme, only Rs 26.76 lakh had been received as donations, revealed the RTI. Out of the total amount received, V Jagapathi Rao, the Chairman of Telangana Tourism Recreation Society Charitable Trust, donated Rs 25 lakh. 

Number of saplings planted

With the amount spent, 203 crore saplings had been planted by the various departments of the government. Out of this, 139.5 crore samplings have been planted outside forests. In the GHMC limits, 4.1 crore saplings and in the HMDA limits 5.6 crore saplings have been planted over the last five years. According to the statistics revealed, 54.4 crore saplings were planted inside the forests of Telangana.

No data on survival rate of saplings

Incidentally, the RTI revealed that they do not have any statistics about the number of plants that have survived. The response to the RTI said, “No exercise on the survival of the plants planted has been conducted by this department in the districts as such.”

The RTI had also asked details about the saplings that survived among those planted by CM KCR, Minister KTR and the Minister for Forests. No information was available for this as well.

J Sudheer, the activist who filed the RTI, said it was just not enough to spend large amounts of money on planting saplings. “A monitoring cell is needed to keep track of the saplings planted and also those that have survived. Monthly bulletins need to be released by each mandal to monitor and ensure that the saplings planted survive,” he said. 

The National Forest Policy of India envisages a minimum of 33% of the total geographical area under forest cover to maintain environmental stability and ecological balance. As per the new Municipal Act and the new Panchayat Raj Act, it has been mandated that the local bodies safeguard the plants or face stringent action including penalties in the case of negligence.

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