Making the City lush green

Making the City lush green

Making the City lush green

The pressure created by increasing urbanisation is taking a toll on Delhi’s landscape. In order to sensitise citizens towards the depleting green cover and encourage them to conserve and grow trees, the Delhi Government initiated a green campaign by providing free plant saplings at different locations in the Capital. A few years on, the scheme is largely successful, with some minor glitches.

Although the free plant saplings are available across city’s nurseries throughout the year, easily accessible locations like petrol pumps, mother dairy booths and the two Dilli Haats also supply them during monsoon. With a wide variety of plantlets ranging from decorative ones like Harsingar, Amaltas, Gulmohar, Dhak and Champa to those that grow into long lasting trees like Ashok, Arjun and Badd; one is bound to feel closer to nature even while

living in a concrete jungle. “Neem, Jamun, Anar and Amla remain the favourites for their medicinal and beneficiary value. Aloe vera is also given on demand even though it is not a tree,” says Suresh Thakur, Horticulture Assistant, ITO Nursery.

The demand for these saplings is heartening as not only individuals but schools and other institutions have also come forward. But due to procedural delays, authorities are having a tough time balancing the supply. “This year the response is better. I am receiving constant inquiries for bulk orders but feel helpless in the absence of regular supply of saplings. We are usually given around 100 pieces weekly but this time, despite several inquiries, the authorities haven’t come for delivery,” says RK Gupta, Manager of a Janakpuri petrol pump that supplies saplings.

The erratic weather this year has been a major concern. “We are short of trucks to deliver the saplings at designated places. The supply usually starts from July and continues till end of August or beginning of September, depending on the pattern of rains. But this time only some sections of Delhi have been covered till now. We are working on the minor deterrents and the delivery should resume shortly,” reveals Rajgopal Prashant, IFS, Deputy Conservator of Forests and Tree Officer, West Delhi.

Despite a promising quality and variety, some people still criticise the free saplings, forgetting that the larger goal is to preserve the environment which can be achieved only through grassroots efforts on part of the citizens. As Rajgopal points out, “People must be careful themselves. If they pick up a sapling from its tip, it is bound to come out of the mud bag. Just because they are free doesn’t mean they don’t have a value. Handling the new plants requires care as they are very delicate.”
Some are also wary of the maintenance these saplings would require. But regular watering and occasional manure treatment is all that is needed. “The quality of the plantlets is very good. I planted a few in my home a year ago and they are blossoming well,” says RK Gupta.

In a season when we are closest to the nature, planting and adopting a tree is probably the best way to reinforce the love for flora.