Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Every sapling to be counted and accounted for says KCR : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

Every sapling to be counted and 
accounted for says KCR
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has declared on the floor of the Telangana Legislative Assembly that every sapling that is planted as part of “Telangana ku Haritha Haram” is counted and accounted for. He also said that every rupee that was spent for the past three years under Haritha Haram has been socially audited and the details of it will be placed before the House. The CM came down heavily on the past governments in general and the Congress in particular for their negligence, which led to destruction of the forest cover in the State. CM said that no stone is left unturned to restore the destructed forest cover. Hence the CM warned that even an inch of forestland if grabbed would be dealt with stern action. He announced that after the formation of the new gram panchayats, every village would have a sapling nursery. He took strong objection to the baseless allegations made on the Haritha Haram programme, which is being held like a sacred ritual. The legislative Assembly had a short-term discussion on Haritha Haram on October 27, 2017.

“We have lost the forest cover and it has led to vagaries of nature. Global warming became a major issue. In the US, the world’s super power, due to natural calamities, three states were inundated. Due to cloud burst, flash floods and pollution, people from China to Chennai are suffering. For seven days Chennai suffered due to heavy incessant rains and floods. Mega city Mumbai was drowned in three meters of water. Though the scientists have warned about the disasters, the former rulers have neglected the warnings and hence the worst situation has come” the CM recalled.

The CM said in the last three and half years, more than 81 Crore saplings were planted at a cost of Rs 2008 Crore. Under Employment Guarantee scheme Rs 1307 Crore, from the State’s Budget Rs 396 Crore and under CAMPA Rs 304 Core were spent. “Some members have asked whether we have an account for this expenditure. We have account for expenditure incurred on each sapling that is planted. The Centre does a proper audit of the Employment Guarantee scheme. A social audit was done on the money spent from the State government.  Money spent under CAMPA is subjected to the third party evaluation. All this will be placed in the House.” the CM assured.

CM made it abundantly clear that the government is very serious about increasing the green cover in the State. “We are collecting funds for Haritha Haram. Under CAMPA we will get Rs 1500 Crore from the centre. Each time during the Delhi visit we have been exerting pressure on the Centre to release these funds. The CAMPA funds about Rs 40,000 Crore due to be given to the States are lying idle in a bank in Connaught Place in New Delhi. This is gross injustice. We have waged a battle that the state government’s share in CAMPA should be enhanced and the Centre had introduced the Act in the Parliament. There is some delay in this. After the Act was passed by the parliament there were some objections between the Finance Ministry and the Forest ministry. The finance ministry is arguing that the funds should be deposited to their ministry first and then they will be passed on to the forest ministry,” the CM explained.

The CM reminded the House as to how the Centre had praised the Haritha Haram programme under which lakhs of sapling were planted. “The then Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar had expressed happiness over the Haritha Haram and mentioned about it as an example at several meetings in the country. The Centre had announced in the Parliament that 20 percent of the total saplings planted in the country belonged to the Telangana State. We know the importance and priority of the environment protection. Director General of Forests who visited the State had also praised the government’s efforts in this regard,” the CM said.

“Under the Forests Act, no one has any right on the forestland. One can take the fruits of the land and live. There was an agitation raising red flags as though some injustice was done to the Gotti Koyas who illegally encroached the forestlands. In reality, Gotti Koyas do not belong to our State and they are encroachers. People from any state can live anywhere. But it does not mean that one should keep quiet when they fell forests and occupy lands. Is cutting forest a great movement? Gotti Koyas can be shown an alternative livelihood. Henceforth, it will not be tolerated to destroy forests under the pretext of shifting cultivation. Enough is enough. If we do not stop destruction of forests, we will be doing a lot of harm to the future generations. We will take stringent action” the CM said.

The CM said however much money one earns, one cannot live happily without proper environment. For future generations, proper living conditions should be created. If we do not stop destruction of forests, we may have to buy clean air also in future. For clean air, lands around Hyderabad to be purchased to grow plants. “As on date Ramagundam records the highest temperature of 48 degrees. Birds are dead. Under such situation we also should take a pledge on greenery. Hence the government came out with proper planning under Haritha Haram. We have increased avenue plantation all along national highways. Out of the saplings planted about 90 to 95 percent survived. We have taken steps to protect all the plants under avenue plantation. We have arranged 3100 water tankers for this purpose. To understand the ground realities, we travelled by bus on Vijayawada highway. Situation is very good” the CM said.

“When I was a minister under in AP Government, I told the DG fire services to supply wireless sets to the fire services staff and entrust them with the work of watering the plants when off the work, so that, they have enough physical labour. If they have wireless sets, they can rush to the spot when there is a fire accident. I have given them the responsibility of watering the plants,” the CM said.

“Elections are due in Himachal Pradesh State. Every political party in its Manifesto promissed that they would control the monkey menace. The Monkey’s are swarming the habitations due to lack of forest cover. We have destroyed the fruit bearing trees, which are major sustenance to the Monkeys and other animals in the forests. They are attacking our kitchens for food. The wild fruits grow in the forests are not available to us whenever we wanted. I thought there would be serious discussion on this. I said, ‘Rains come again, and Monkey’s go away’. Has the wild boar ever entered a village in the past? Now they are coming to the villages. When I cultivated groundnut in 6-acre plot, I could not get even a single nut. The entire yield was eaten by the wild boars. We have to understand the importance of environment protection and balance. We all should come together to save the forests.” the CM said.

“The forestlands which are lost are lost. Henceforth not even inch of land should be allowed to go. Let there be a House Committee on the protection of the forestlands. Keep members who have love towards environment in the Committee. Take up monthly review. Do the field survey. Come out with data on how much land was encroached and how much is still with the forest department? Smugglers are felling the forests. Let us discuss about ROFR in the House once again. New Delhi is an example of how plants can be protected in any environment. If GHMC, officials, MLAs and MPs decided greenery can be increased in Hyderabad in three to four years” concluded the CM. 

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