It is encouraging that the government has finally realised the importance of urban greenery, and is claiming to ensure vast, green patches in various areas of the city that can serve as its lungs from July 22 onwards. There are also plans of setting up ‘Nandan Van(s)’ to nail this purpose. It is indeed a very good idea if it is actually accomplished, that is! And, herein lies the catch- actual accomplishment! Every year, crores of trees are claimed to be planted but without any visible addition to the existing greenery that we see around us, including on the outskirts. Jangal mein mor nacha kisne dekha? Where is the proof of these annual plantations? As it is, the monkey menace is increasing at a huge pace and is a clear indication of greenery being cut around us. The displaced monkeys then make their way into our colonies, creating a man-animal conflict-like situation of a different type- or should I say, the typical type?
Anyway, increasing ‘pest’ forays into our lawns like those by gofers, field mice or even mongoose all indicate their habitat loss at someplace. And there has been an increasing number of such forays if you pay attention. It is not the regular mouse that is now a common sight but a large one with sharp, bright eyes and twitching ears! Yes, now you get my point! So, on one hand, the government talks about greenery, green cover, plantation, and the creation of huge gardens where even biodiversity, including the monkeys, can thrive, on the other hand, there is legal and illegal clearing of existing urban green cover that is rendering more and more animals and birds homeless and ‘stray’. “Do this, don’t do that…” is merely for the common man. The big contractors, corporate bigwigs and even the government departments don’t come under this rule! How do we trust them then? The corporate is exploiting the wetlands that they ‘adopt’ under corporate responsibility, the builders are causing destruction to local greenery wherever they take up projects, and those renovating old houses are doing away with lawns (though there is a provision in all residential colonies to leave a part of the plot for a lawn), and the government departments concerned are just turning a blind eye! There is not even a thought for groundwater recharge, let alone green cover!
Let us see how sincerely the government, especially the Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate change, acts to make this plantation pledge- that its ministers have taken- a success, and works in tandem with other government departments and institutions to ensure that this year even the urban areas emerge as green as possible!