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Delhi govt to replace water-intensive 'Vilayati Kikar' trees with local varieties

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

'Vilayati Kikar', a water-intensive tree species, will be replaced with local varieties such as Amaltas, the has proposed in its budget.

An amount of Rs 50 lakh has been set aside for the first phase of the long-term project to make the city free of 'Vilayati Kikar', which was planted by the British around 1912-13, when the capital was shifted to from Calcutta (now Kolkata).

In his budget speech, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the forest cover in Delhi, which was 20.22 per cent last year, has increased by around one per cent.

'Vilayati Kikar' is a small, evergreen, spiny tree, which has the capacity to survive harsh environments. Today large parts of the Ridge, where the project to remove it will begin, are covered by this tree species.

Apart from being an invasive species, its leaves do not decompose and discourage all of the undergrowth below it, Forest Department has said.

The budget made no fresh proposals to address the problem of air pollution and also there was no clarity on the measures which were announced last year.

The budget formally proposed to increase the number of air quality monitoring stations of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to 20 from the current six, an announcement that has been in the public domain for some time now.

The one-time fixed subsidy of Rs 30,000 for e-rickshaws registered by the Transport Department will continue, the said.

Last year, the had earmarked Rs 137 crore for installing LED screens to display pollution levels, public awareness messages and real-time traffic information at public places across the city.

While no work is visible on this front, the proposal to increase the number of air monitoring centres from six to nine also saw no progress.

Unlike last year, there was no mention of 'car-free' days or the odd-even scheme in the budget speech, two initiatives that have been on the back burner for almost a year.

In total, Rs 106 crore has been set aside for the Environment and Forest Department while Rs 57 crore has been earmarked for implementation of several schemes, programmes and projects in this sector.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 09 2017. 04:42 IST