Chandigarh on way to become world’s greenest city (Lead)

September 7th, 2008 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Sep 7 (IANS) It has the greenest cover in Asia and is aiming to become the greenest city in the world. The ‘Greening Chandigarh Action Plan-2008′ has set a target of planting one million saplings this year.According to official records, 970,000 saplings have already been planted by various agencies by Aug 31.

It was launched by Gen. (retd.) S.F. Rodrigues, Chandigarh administrator, on World Forestry Day March 21, 2008.

Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, has a forest and tree cover of 35.7 percent of its total 114 sq km area, according to the forest survey of India’s latest report. This is highest not only in India but also in the whole Asia.

The city, the first planned one in post-independent India, came into being in the early 1950s through the design of renowned French architect Le Corbusier.

“This action plan of Chandigarh administration visualises the planting of one million trees including a free distribution of over 25,000 saplings by Chandigarh’s forest department,” said an official of the forest department.

“All the pre-plantation work was completed before the onset of monsoon,” the official said.

City-based environmentalists are excited at this move of the Chandigarh administration.

“Planting of saplings will help in preventing the soil erosion and in stopping encroachments on the open spaces. More trees will make the city’s environment more clean and hygienic,” Ramanjit Singh Deol, a Chandigarh-based environmentalist told IANS.

“Very soon Chandigarh will become the greenest city of the world,” said Deol.

The forest department of Chandigarh planted 906,200 sapling by Aug 31. It has also distributed 26,500 saplings of trees including medicinal plants to various educational institutions, non government organisations and other organisations free of cost.

The horticulture wing of the municipal corporation planted 26,300 saplings against a target of 24,103 for 2008 while the engineering department planted 11,500 trees by Aug 31.

Chandigarh, originally planned for 500,000 residents by Le Corbusier, is now home to over one million people, including over 300,000 slum dwellers.

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