Forest department officials said the plantation drive, in which the department was supposed to plant around a crore saplings across the city under the joint forest management programme, was delayed as most areas in the city were facing a water crisis.
“We had initially set a target of planting at least over 60 lakh saplings in the western parts of the state by July 15, but the project has not yet commenced as there is no rain,” Chief Conservator of Forests, Pune, Nitin Kakodkar said. “Though we are way behind our decided schedule, we don’t have any option but to wait for the monsoon to set in properly.”
Last May, the forest department announced it would collaborate with local NGOs, educational institutions, the agricultural department and the social forestry department under the joint forest management programme to plant saplings. The idea was to plant local species, mostly fruiting plants such as mango, amla, neem, chickoo, jackfruit and custard apple.
The initial digging work was done at several locations in the city for the purpose of the initiative. The Pune Forest Division even set up over 25 nurseries to grow the saplings that were to be planted during the monsoon.
Apart from roping in environmentalists, industries and individual volunteers, the forest department had also hired labourers to execute the plantation drive.
Besides the city, the places where the saplings were to be planted under the project included Vella taluka, Bhor, Shampa, Mulshi, Sinhagad and even Solapur.