Hyderabad: In a landmark achievement under afforestation programme, Telangana accounted for a staggering 26 per cent of the total saplings planted in the entire country under the 20-point programmne during 2016-17, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan told the Lok Sabha.
Congratulating Telangana State government for its unprecedented initiative in the green drive, the Minister said no State in the country was anywhere near Telangana when it came to achieving the target for green cover programme.
The Minister, replying during a debate, said that TS, which had set a target of taking up afforestation in 80,446 hectares by the Central government in 2016-17, took up plantation in 4,36,913 hectares, which translates into five times more than the target.
Andhra Pradesh was a distant second by taking up plantation in 2,45,363 hectares against a target of 2,08,591 hectares, registering a marginal increase over the target.
Gujarat was placed third having taken up plantation in 1.40 lakh hectares against target of 1.39 lakh hectares.
When it comes to number of saplings planted, TS again scored heavily with a figure of 3,673 lakh saplings against the target of 522 lakh saplings, achieving a whopping seven-fold increase against the target.
The nearest States in this category are Gujarat which doubled its target of 905 sapling by planting 1,791 lakh saplings. AP planted 1,628 lakh saplings against its target of 1,355 lakh saplings, which accounts for less than a 25 per cent increase.
Harsh Vardhan hailed Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s efforts to exceed the target as also for regularly monitoring the issue of raising the green cover in the State.