Dehradun: The ambitious project of Uttarakhand government to improve the ecosystem via sapling plantation drive has failed due to apathy of the state authorities. Saplings of different varieties worth several lakhs planted in the forest reserves died young due to the ignorance of the concerned authorities.

Quick to wash its hand off the issue, the State Forest Department authorities have claimed that the saplings have fallen prey to termites and wild animals in the forest areas.

The Rajaji National Park depicts a true picture of the Forest Department’s ignorance towards the plantation drive. In the last 10 years, a whopping amount of Rs 92 lakh was spent to plant saplings in the park. However, owing to the lackadaisical approach of the Forest Department officials, only 5 to 30 percent saplings could develop as plants.

The condition of sapling plantation in Uttarakhand after the state’s formation is disheartening.  The reply made by the Rajaji National Park authorities to an RTI application has brought the startling fact to the fore.

In nine ranges of Rajaji National Park, 4,57,985 saplings of Bamboo, Bahera, Amla, Cirrus, Jamun, Kachnaar, Samal, Peepal and Banyan were planted at an expense of Rs 92.16 lakhs.

The survival rate of saplings is pitiable as only 5 to 10 percent saplings survived in Chila range, whereas it is a similar scenario at Chillwali, Gauhri and Dhaulkhand eastern ranges.

The present situation raises a question mark on the devotion of the park administration in saving the plants. Interestingly, whether the saplings were planted or not, still remains a mystery.

(JPN/Bureau)