Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Sunday, March 3, 2024

MoEF on National Trail for Healthy Ecology






The newly-verdant slopes of Warje Hill near here had recently served as inspiration to the forest department to restore other hills in the city to their former green glory. Now, widening the scope of the project under the Union government's urban forest scheme, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has decided to implement it in the jurisdictions of 200 municipal corporations across the country, using Warje as an inspiration. Union minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said, "There are countries with flourishing urban forests which subsequently lead to a healthy ecology. We have forest land in urban areas, but no forests. With a similar plan in mind, we had decided to develop an urban forest in Warje and the results are heartening. Therefore, we have decided to implement similar projects in other parts of the country."


He added, "We have identified nearly 200 municipal corporations that have forest land within urban areas. In the first phase, we will start implementing the project in the jurisdictions of 28 corporations." Forest land of 37 hectares at Warje was run over with slums and used for open defecation. Neglected by the forest department for long, it came into focus in June last year. In less than a year, the encroachments were removed and a massive tree plantation drive carried out, completely transforming the barren landscape. Forest officials from Pune region also claimed they have already started getting enquiries from other regions of the state as well as other parts of the country.


Jeet Singh, chief conservator of forests, Pune, told Mirror, "Some months ago, a team from the Union ministry had taken down all the details of the project. Now, we are getting calls from officers of other regions to find out about our efforts to develop the urban forest." Singh added that they now plan to expand the project to other parts of the city where forest lands are lying vacant. "So far, we have managed to cover more than 75 per cent of the land under plantation in Warje and we will be planting more trees on July 1 this year. We have also decided to take the project to other parts of the city.


Recently, we sent a proposal for developing urban forests in areas like Parvati, Karvenagar, H a d a p s a r, K h a r a d i a n d Wadgaonsheri," he said. Foresters say, in a span of five years, all these areas will boast lush greenery and become ideal leisure spots. "The idea is not just to grow trees on forest lands. We also want to implement this scheme for the benefit of citizens. We have deliberately decided to grow medicinal plants on these pieces of land so that once they are developed as urban forests, citizens will be able to know more about the healing properties of plants growing in their neighbourhood."






Source: Ahmedabad Mirror