50 lakh saplings waiting for rain

The delay in monsoon may cost the greenery of the state. Indigenous saplings, nurtured by the state’s social forestry department, are still waiting for the rain before they can be planted. The delay in planting may reduce the survival rate of these saplings. The state has spent almost Rs 50 per sapling and have nurtured as many has 1.29 crore saplings in 40 nurseries across Maharashtra.

No use without rain: The state forestry department cannot handover the saplings to district administration before the arrival of monsoon. Representation Pic

The indigenous saplings will be planted on roadside, highways and rural areas. However, owing to the delay in monsoons, the plantation has not started, which may affect the growth of the tree. “We have completed all the preparation for plantation, including pitting and spacing. However, if the weather predictions are true and monsoons don’t arrive till mid-July, that will delay the plantation work,” informed Chandrakant Tambe, deputy director of social forestry department. He added that since most saplings were indigenous in nature, if they are not planted on time, they might remain malnourished, which will affect the growth of the tree.

For the last three years, the state forestry department has been nurturing and growing saplings of Laucaena leucocephala (subabhul), Terminalia chibula (Hirda) and Terminalia belirica (Behda), common indigenous trees of the state. The saplings are then handed over to various departments of district administration, who plant them in their area.

“For this year, the government has given us the target of planting 50 lakh saplings across the state. However, we can’t handover the saplings till the arrival of monsoons,” said Tambe.

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