Hyderabad: Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has vowed to bring in strong legislation to protect the forest cover by taking stern action against those encroaches upon the forests and end greenery.
Replying to a Short Discussion on Haritha Haram programme in the Telangana State Legislative Assembly on Monday, the Chief Minister said in order to increase the green cover, the State Government had launched an ambitious programme of planting 230 crore saplings in five year period through Haritha Haram programme.
He alleged that the forest cover of Telangana was badly damaged in the united Andhra Pradesh regime and it was reduced to only 24% of total area. He said that the Haritha Haram was aimed at increasing the cover to 33%.
Stating that the Telangana was already under the impact of global warming, the Chief Minister said maximum temperature in most parts of the State has touched 48 Degree Celsius. He warned that the temperature could exceed 50 Degree Celsius if immediate steps are not taken now.
He said earlier, people in areas like Banjara Hills, used to live without fans. However, now they could not live without air-conditioners. He said the conditions could be changed only by increasing the green cover.
The Chief Minister said so far, Rs. 2008.11 crore have been spent on Haritha Haram programme. This include Rs. 1300 crore from National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. He said entire amount has been spent in a transparent manner and with total accountability.
He said a Delhi-based audit firm has been assigned the task of preparing a detailed report on spending the same report would be presented in the Assembly during the ongoing session.
KCR said while previous Congress and TDP regimes have planted only 3 crore saplings during 1980 to 2014, TRS Government has planted nearly 81 crore saplings in just three-and-a-half years. He said targets could not be reached due to deficient rainfall in two years.
He said serious efforts were made to protect the saplings. However, he said environment would benefit even if 30% saplings survive and turn into full-grown trees across the State.
The Chief Minister said the efforts were also being made to strengthen the Forest Department. He said there were over 50% vacancies in the Forest Department since Congress and TDP regimes. He said his government has issued directions for filling up 2,077 vacancies.
He said as many as 4,149 nurseries were established in the year 2014-2015. But they have been reduced to 2,900. He said saplings were being provided by these nurseries.
KCR said Gram Panchayats would be made made accountable for effective implementation of green drives. He said a new Panchayat Raj Law would be introduced soon to strengthen and activate gram panchayats.
Further, he said nearly three to four thousands new Gram Panchayats would also be established. He assured that elections for all Gram Panchayats would be conducted as per the schedule.
Six MLAs have been participated in the Short Discussion. Congress MLA D.K. Aruna and BJP MLA N. Ramchander Rao have targetted the government seeking full details of survival rate of saplings that have been planted.
Earlier, Forests & Environment Minister Jogu Ramanna made a detailed statement on the Telanganaku Haritha Haram. He claimed that TKHH was 3rd largest initiative taken in the world to increase the green cover.
He said to ensure that each and every seedling planted is accounted for and monitored, the government has introduced geo-tagging of the seedling planted. During the current year, of 34 crore saplings planted till now, 27.72 crore seedlings are already geo-tagged and remaining are under progress. (INN)