Plantation drive across 5 states to revive Ganga

Seeking to rejuvenate the Ganga through a massive plantation exercise in its riverscape, the Centre has released a detailed project report (DPR) on the sort of intervention it plans for the river which will see five states plant trees on 83,946 sq km of identified diverse forest areas over the next five years. Timing the release of the report with World Water Day , Union water resources minister Uma Bharti stressed on planting of Himalayan species of vegetation along the river that will produce `Brahmadrav', which she said, ensures clean river water.
The identified patches in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal had seen large scale deforestation in the past, leading to damage to the water retention capacity of the catchment area.
The project, is to be implemented during 2016-21 in its first phase with an estimated cost of over Rs. 2,293 crore will be funded by the Centre under its `Namami Gange' programme and will help in absorbing water and dealing with soil erosion. 40 types of plants with high water retention capacity , including several shrubs of medicinal value, have been identified for this purpose.
Releasing the DPR jointly with Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, Bharti said, “I am sure such concerted efforts and initiatives of forestry interventions for Ganga will facilitate in accomplishing the Namami Gange's goals of `Nirmal Dhara' (clean flow) and `Aviral Dhara' (uninterrupted flow) and in restoring the glory of the river.“
She also mentioned how vegetations with medicinal values in the catchment areas had been useful in naturally cleaning the river and making it “Brahmdrav (divine element)“. “Ganga has an exclusive property called Brahmadrav, which ensures its water remains clean. Brahmadrav is not some myth or issue of faith alone.This Brahmadrav is made due to Himalayan native species of trees.,“ Bharti said.
Experts believe that plantation of trees, like walnut and oak, having high water retention capacity will increase the river's water level and enhance its flow in the long run.

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