The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) organised the ‘Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan’ in five main Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. This week-long afforestation drive was organised during July 9 to July 15, 2018 as ‘Shubharambh Saptah’.
The State Forest Departments of these five states acted as the Nodal Agencies for the smooth and effective execution of the campaign. While, the Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) were designated as the district level Nodal Officers and Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) at the State level for the event.
Apart from these states, various organisations took part in this drive such as the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), Ganga Vichar Manch (GVM), NGOs and educational institutions.
Highlights of the ‘Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan’
• The campaign was initiated as part of the Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange Programme.
• It was aimed at bringing greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
• A number of schools, colleges and departments were requested to “Adopt a Plant” for turning this campaign into a people’s movement. Various seminars, workshops, lectures, drawing and painting competitions are being organised for the same purpose.
• Plantation activities were carried out with great enthusiasm all along the banks of the River Ganga with participation of local people.
• Formal events to mark the campaign were held at over 100 locations. In Uttar Pradesh, the programme is merged with the Ganga Haritima Abhiyan.
• Some of the plants which were sown during the campaign are Kanji, Sheesham, Farmis, Jamun, Arjun, Gutal, Siras, Chhitvan, Mango, Neem, Semal, Jungal Jalebi, Gulmohar, Kadam, Sagwan, Saal, Mahogni, Ber, Bamboo, Karaonda, Ashwagandha, Curry Patta, Jathrofa, Beheda, Dhatura, Sarpgandha etc.
• In order to implement the afforestation project in a scientific manner, Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun was assigned the project to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on the basis of which the State Forest Departments would carry out their plantation activities.
Report of Forest Research Institute (FRI)
• The Detailed Project Report (DPR) submitted by Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun identified a riverscape covering an area of 83946 km along the five main stem Ganga basin states. This riverscape has been marked for afforestation over a period of 5 years at a cost of Rs 2293.73 crore.
• The FRI report provides a multi-disciplinary approach with potential plantation and treatment models.
• Considering the type of natural ecosystem, identification of native vegetation, soil conditions and agro-climatic zones, the potential models of various types have been developed.
• The implementation plan aims to contribute towards the Clean Ganga Mission, particularly Aviral Dhara and Nirmal Dhara, besides maintenance of the ecological and geological integritie.
Significance of Afforestation in Ganga Basin
Forests cause higher rainfall and raise water level in the rivers. The abundant leaf litter, trees and forests decrease the speed of water dispersion and support slow but greater infiltration of rainwater to ensure smooth functioning of the hydrological cycle.
Moreover, presence of healthy forest cover along the river provides self-cleaning ability to the river. Thus, afforestation along the Ganga holds the promise to strengthen the ecosystem, thereby contributing to the cause of Ganga Rejuvenation.
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
• It was established on 12 August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
• It is the implementation arm of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (National Ganga Council).
• It has a two tier management structure and comprises Governing Council and Executive Committee.
• Both the bodies are headed by Director General (DG), NMCG.
• The Executive Committee is authorised to approve projects under mission up to Rs.1000 Cr.
• The Director General (DG) of NMCG is also an Additional Secretary in Government of India.