A massive-scale greenery campaign will be started soon to prevent environmental pollution in the Eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone of Agra spread over 10,400 sq km.
Officials of the forest department said that due to the rapid expansion of the defacement due to the expansion of construction and infrastructure facilities, the Uttar Pradesh government has declared the target of planting 22 million plants by the end of August.
He said that Agra's green cover is around 6.5 per cent, while the share of UP has dropped to 19.5 percent against national target of 33 percent.
Accordingly, against the target of planting 90 million saplings last year, the state government has planned 22 crores this year, he said.
He said that the target of planting 28.57 lakh saplings in Agra has been fixed.
Out of 28.57 plants, the UP Forest Department alone will plant 8.60 lakh saplings while the other department will plant 9.9 lakh saplings.
He said that at present, all the government departments are busy identifying sites for plantation, he said that they are also looking for partners in greenery venture.
Officials said that in order to accelerate the campaign, the government has also run in about 2 crore beneficiaries of various government schemes in rural areas and also in Gram Panchayats.
Each beneficiary is expected to plant 10 plants, he said. But many environmental activists expressed doubts about the government's ambitious plan.
He is surprised that adequate land is available for Agra to plant enough plants and if the government will ensure adequate care for their nurturing.
Green worker Shravan Kumar Singh said, "Last year the plants were planted in haste and were randomly planted, and the result was that they neither saved nor took proper care."
However, government officials insisted on greening the campaign.
This year, a large number of plants are to be planted along the Yamuna river in Agra, they said, transplanting will start from Monday.
Officials said, "The entire exercise is expected to be completed by the end of August, will ensure transparency in geo-tagging and monitoring campaign by independent observers."
This year, district officials will experiment with planting trees along Yamuna river on the lines of plantation in Mathura district, he said, Yamuna Mission has successfully used drainage for several kilometres along the Yamuna.