Thousands of people, including school children, government employees and politicians, led by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao took part in the launch of the second leg of Telanganaku Haritha Haram, an initiative to increase green cover in Telangana from the current 24 per cent to 33 per cent.
The chief minister inaugurated the massive exercise, under which 46 crore saplings are to be planted this calendar year across the state, by planting two saplings in Nalgonda district near the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway . He planted a neem sapling in Gundrampally , where he addressed a gathering, and a Kadambam sapling in Choutuppal.
After addressing the gathering at Gundrampally, KCR boarded a helicopter to carry out an aerial survey of the planting operation along the 165-km stretch of the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway . In a first, more than 1.25 lakh saplings were planted simultaneously along the highway stretch in the state.
Soon after the chief minister planted the saplings at Gundrampally , police sirens were sounded so that thousands of people, who were positioned on either side of the highway , could start planting the saplings.People from all walks of life enthusiastically took part in the initiative with many lined up even before the chief minister arrived at Gundramapally .
Speaking on the occasion, KCR said, “We have been facing drought-like conditions quite often because we have damaged the environment and depleted the green cover. We chose Nalgonda for the launch of the second leg of Haritha Haram programme since the district has the thinnest forest cover in the state at 5.8 per cent. With this initiative, we hope Nalgonda will become number one in terms of social forestry even as Telangana will become lush green.“
Referring to persistent complaints of Nalgonda farmers that monkeys were destroying crops, the chief minister said it was humans who were trespassing into the habitat of monkeys and not the other way round.
The government took up Haritha Haram last year and lakhs of saplings were planted across the state. However, with the rains failing, the programme did not yield expected results.The chief minister exuded the hope that the initiative would be successful in its second leg since a good monsoon was expected this year.
The Haritha Haram programme will continue for the next few weeks across the state. On Friday , it was formally launched in all the districts by the respective ministers.
In the city , chief secretary Rajiv Sharma led a team officials who planted saplings at the Secretariat. Industries minister K Taraka Rama Rao planted a sapling at the police commissioner's office premises in Cyberabad. In Adilabad, forest minister Jogu Ramanna distributed saplings to people and health minister C Laxma Reddy distributed saplings to motorists at a petrol bunk in Shadnagar in Mahbubnagar district.