Forest Department Plans to Plant 20,000 Trees Alongside Delhi-Meerut Expressway for Greenery Boost
The divisional forest department is set to embark on a significant afforestation initiative along the Delhi-Meerut Expressway in Ghaziabad. Approximately 20,000 trees will be planted under phase 4 of the expressway, covering a stretch of about 32 km from Dasna in Ghaziabad to Kashi toll plaza near Partapur, Meerut.
The forest department’s initiative aims to enhance greenery along the expressway, contributing to the larger goal of sustainable and eco-friendly infrastructure. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials have welcomed the afforestation effort, noting that it aligns with their objectives to mitigate the environmental impact of construction and maintenance.
During the pandemic, many trees alongside the expressway suffered damage due to the lack of maintenance and grooming. The plantation drive under phase 4 is a strategic move to address this issue and restore the green cover. The project is estimated to cost around ₹1.5 crore, covering the expenses of planting ornamental plants, trees from the banyan family, and fruit-bearing trees.
Manish Singh, the divisional forest officer, emphasized the collaborative nature of the initiative, stating, “This is being taken up in coordination with NHAI as the land alongside the expressway belongs to the highways authority.”
Compensatory Afforestation: Meeting Environmental Obligations
To compensate for the trees that fell during different phases of the expressway construction, NHAI has already deposited funds for compensatory afforestation. The forest department’s proposed plantation is an additional effort to contribute to the compensatory afforestation and achieve the proposed target for phase 4.
In previous phases (2 and 3), around 19,000 trees and shrubs were felled, and for phase 4, about 3,500 trees were cut down during construction. The NHAI had initially estimated planting 88,000 trees alongside the Dasna to Meerut stretch, aiming to compensate for the felled trees.
NHAI officials detailed the plantation strategy, indicating that the first row along the expressway will consist of small to medium ornamental shrubs. The subsequent row will comprise ornamental and shade-bearing species of medium height. The third row will feature shade trees such as neem and pipal. This diverse approach aims to create a sustainable and visually appealing green belt along the expressway.
The forest department’s involvement in the plantation drive underscores the collective commitment to creating a greener, more sustainable infrastructure. The project addresses environmental concerns and aligns with the broader goals of balancing infrastructure development and ecological conservation.
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