Centre government launches ₹19,000 cr. river afforestation plan

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admin March 17, 2022
Updated 2022/03/25 at 3:30 PM

According to officials from the Environment and Jal Shakti Ministries at a joint press conference on Monday, the Centre government launches a 19,000–crore project to revitalise 13 major rivers by planting trees.

These “forestry” interventions are predicted to improve cumulative forest cover in the area of these 13 rivers by 7,417.36 square kilometres, preventing 50.21 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 10-year–old plantations and 74.76 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 20–year–old plantations.

They would help recharge groundwater, prevent sedimentation, generate 449.01 crores in non-timber and other forest product revenue, and provide 344 million man-days of employment.

The National Afforestation & Eco-development Board funded the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Luni, Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Cauvery rivers (MoEF & CC). The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Dehradun, issued many extensive detailed project reports for each of these rivers, which were made public by the two ministries (ICFRE).

The 13 rivers occupy a basin area of 18,90,110 square kilometres, or around 57.45% of the geographical area. Their total length, including 202 tributaries within the defined area, is 42,830 kilometres.

The documents propose many types of river afforestation. Timber species, medicinal plants, grasses, shrubs, fuel fodder, and fruit trees are among them. There are 667 treatment and planting models proposed in the document, including 283 treatment models for natural landscapes, 97 treatment models for farm landscapes, and 116 models for urban landscapes.

Based on interactions with different stakeholders, site-specific treatments in terms of soil and moisture conservation, as well as plantings of grasses, herbs, forestry, and horticultural trees, have been recommended for treatment of priority areas in the riverscape. Nodal officers from the different state forest departments were assigned to this exercise to cooperate with other line departments.

According to the DPRs, the State Forest Departments will be the primary implementing agency, with “convergence of plans of other state line departments.” The ICFRE would provide technical assistance.

These efforts would assist India in meeting its international climate commitments, which include creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through increased forest and tree cover by 2030 under the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement; restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030; and halting biodiversity loss by 2030 under the CBD and Sustainable Development Goals.

Last year in Glasgow, India pledged to cut its projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030, meet half of its energy needs with renewables by 2030, increase non–fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030, reduce its economy’s carbon intensity by 45 percent by 2030, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.

Source: The Hindu

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