The Karnataka CM said that the government should aim at maintaining one-thirds of the state’s land into forests.

Where have all the saplings gone Ktaka CM slams forest dept over green cover
news Environment Tuesday, June 06, 2017 - 09:00

On World Environment Day, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah questioned his government’s claims of having planted crores of saplings in the past few years.

The displeased Chief Minister lashed out at the Forest Department over its failure to increase the forest cover in the state.

“The forest cover in our state is not increasing and is stuck somewhere between 19-20% for 25 years now. Government officials keep saying that they have conducted plantation drives every year and now say that crores of saplings have been planted. I don’t know where the saplings have all gone,” Siddaramaiah said.

He spoke at the inauguration of the World Environment Day celebrations organized by the Deoartment of Forests and Environment, and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), at the Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad International Auditorium at GKVK campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), media reports said.

The Karnataka CM said that the government should aim at maintaining one-thirds of the state’s land into forests, as over two decades, the forest cover has not increased at all. 

Questioning Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai’s statement of having planted crores of saplings over the years, Siddaramaiah said, “Last year, officials said that they had planted 8 crore saplings. The green cover should have improved if this was the case. Now they have set out to plant six crore saplings. Where did they all go?”

The CM also targeted the KSPCB and said that the authority must concentrate on cleaning up polluted water bodies, while referring to the horrifying condition of the Bellandur and Varthur Lakes. He also said that it is not only the government’s obligation to keep the environment clean but also that of the citizens.

“People should also take responsibility and follow norms such as segregation of solid and liquid waste and harvest rainwater. Over 3,500 tonnes of waste is generated daily in Bengaluru, and disposing of such a huge quantity is a tough job,” he said.

Responding to Siddaramaiah’s reprimand, Ramanath Rai said that the district in-charge Ministers would be leading the plantation programmes across Karnataka in their respective districts. He also said that the department was planning on reviving lakes by involving corporates to take up the task as CSR initiatives. 

“We are also planning to set up 50 tree parks in the name of Salumarada Thimmakka, and hold Chinnara Vana Darashana, a programme to create awareness about wildlife among children,” Rai said.

 

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