New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said the city’s green cover has to be increased from the existing 23 per cent to 25 per cent in the coming years to make the national capital world’s greenest and cleanest city.
Kejriwal attended a Van Mahotsav where Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena was the chief guest. He said this year, more than 1 crore saplings will be planted across the city, adding that 27.5 lakh saplings have already been planted.
Saxena said the chief minister’s observations need to be implemented and the green cover of the city be enhanced from 23 per cent to 25 per cent in the next two years.
The LG said he has asked for planting of saplings at police stations and other premises of Delhi Police to increase the green cover of the city.
A bonhomie was visible between Saxena and Kejriwal, the two constitutional figures at loggerheads over governance-related issues in Delhi.
“I am very happy that the honourable chief minister is present among us in this programme,” Saxena said in his address.
Kejriwal returned the pleasantries in a tweet addressed to the LG, “It was great participating in Van Mahotsav with u Sir. Delhi plants 5.5 lakh trees today with our target of more than 1 cr trees/shrubs this year. Together, all of us will achieve that target.”
Last year’s Van Mahotsav programme at Asola Bhati Mines sanctuary was marred with controversy over the poster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the programme venue.
The programme, held in July last year, was not attended by Kejriwal and his party had accused the Centre and the LG of ‘hijacking’ the event organised by the Delhi government’s forest department.
At 23 per cent, Delhi’s green cover is higher than cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru as well as London and New York, the chief minister said.
“This is a matter of happiness and encouragement for us. But we cannot sit idle and it should be increased further. After one to two years, it should be up to 25 per cent and further 27 per cent,” he said.
Kejriwal cautioned that if we sit idle and are satisfied with the 23 per cent green cover, it will reduce to 21 per cent and further to 19 per cent.
“We cannot let it (Delhi’s green cover) reduce. We need to increase it,” he said.
The chief minister also observed that world over, expansion of cities has impacted their respective green covers, but despite fast growth in Delhi, its green cover has increased.
He also mentioned the air pollution problem of the city, saying the air quality has improved since 2015 with more clean air days now.
“Since 2015 to present year, pollution in Delhi has declined by 30 per cent and the ‘clean air days’ numbers have gone up to 163 days this year,” he said.
The chief minister also urged people to strive for making Delhi the world’s greenest and cleanest city.
During the Van Mahotsav event held at Asola Bhati Mines wildlife sanctuary, 5.5 lakh saplings were planted.
Accompanied by the chief minister, the Lt Governor planted saplings at the sanctuary where a ‘Tapovan’, ‘Nakshatra Van’ and a ‘Raashi Van’ of medicinal and other religiously sacred plants will be grown on a 25 acre plot.
Saxena said other than planting traditional varieties of saplings, there should not be any hesitation in experimenting with other plants and trees, and cited his initiative of growing bamboo at Baansera, and saplings of Cherry and Chinar in the city.
He said the central government has emphasised to cover 1 crore hectare of land with trees and plants under the National Mission for Green India.