Environment and Forest Minister Shri Gopal Rai chaired a significant meeting with officials of the Forest Department at the Delhi Secretariat to boost tree plantation in Delhi. In the meeting, it was decided to commence the Van Mahotsav in Delhi from July 9th at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Pusa, to enhance the green cover in the city. The concluding ceremony of the Van Mahotsav will be held on August 20th at the Chhatrasal Stadium. The Van Mahotsav program will commence with the launch of an online portal, allowing Delhi residents to book free saplings. This grand campaign will be celebrated in various constituencies of Delhi. Additionally, the distribution of free medicinal plants will also take place during this Van Mahotsav.

After the meeting, during the press conference held at the Delhi Secretariat, Environment and Forest Minister Shri Gopal Rai addressed all the journalists present and stated, “Pollution remains a major challenge in Delhi at all times. Since coming into power, under the leadership of Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal, our government has been continuously working to reduce the pollution levels in Delhi. As a result of all these efforts, there has been a consistent decrease in the pollution levels within Delhi, and a significant increase in the green cover (green area) of the city has been observed.”

Shri Rai added, “In Delhi, where the green cover was 20% in 2013, due to the efforts of the Kejriwal government, it has increased to 23.06% in 2021. Additionally, in terms of forest cover in cities, Delhi has become the number one city in the entire country. In line with this direction, the Tree Plantation Mega Campaign, which is part of the Summer Action Plan’s 14 points, will be initiated from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Pusa on July 9th, and the concluding ceremony of this seven-week-long event will be held on August 20th at the Chhatrasal Stadium.”

Shri Rai announced that this year, the Delhi government will celebrate the Van Mahotsav with the participation of the entire Delhi by conducting tree plantation and sapling distribution in different Lok Sabha constituencies of Delhi every Sunday from July 9th to August 20th. During this program, members of the RWAs (Resident Welfare Associations) and Eco Clubs in Delhi will also be present. The program schedule for Van Mahotsav is as follows:

• July 9th – IARI, Pusa (New Delhi Lok Sabha Constituency)
• July 16th – Garhi Mandu (North East Delhi)
• July 23rd – Rewla Khanpur (West Delhi)
• July 30th – Bhati Mines, Gate No. 7 (South Delhi)
• August 6th – Delhi University Polo Ground (Chandni Chowk)
• August 13th – NH-24, near Yamuna Bank Metro Station (East Delhi)
• August 20th – Chhatrasal Stadium (North West Delhi)

Shri Rai said, “Every year a tree plantation campaign is conducted to increase Delhi’s green belt and reduce pollution. Since the second term of the Kejriwal government, starting from 2020, until 2022-23, a total of 1 crore 18 lakhs saplings have been planted. Every year, the central government sets tree plantation targets for all states. During the elections, we made a significant commitment to the people of Delhi, aiming to plant 2 crores saplings/shrubs in five years to improve the environment of Delhi. However, this year, by planting 52 Lakh saplings, the government will be able to achieve a target of approximately 1crore 70 lakhs saplings in its fourth year of office. This target will be accomplished through the efforts of all 21 relevant departments’ green agencies. Additionally, NDMC will plant more than 50 Lakh saplings/trees.”

Shri Rai further stated that in this Van Mahotsav program, the government would also provide free medicinal saplings to the residents of Delhi, encouraging their participation. Free medicinal saplings will be distributed from 14 government nurseries in Delhi so that people can contribute to the enhancement of Delhi’s green cover by planting trees in their own homes. This includes medicinal plants that enhance disease resistance.

“As part of the tree distribution during the Van Mahotsav program, an online portal will be launched where Delhi residents can book free saplings. Applicants will need to click a selfie with the received saplings and upload it to the portal. This will enable the department to keep track of real-time data regarding the distribution of saplings” added Shri Rai.

During the press conference, Shri Rai appealed to the people of Delhi, requesting their participation in this tree plantation campaign. He said, “The government is making efforts at its level, but I believe that if everyone actively includes tree plantation in their culture and daily lives, we can overcome the problem of pollution. I have confidence that together we will make this tree plantation campaign a success and fight against pollution in Delhi with even greater strength.”

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