Free Press Journal

Bhopal: CM query on plantation world record leaves officers squirming

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Bhopal: “What became of the world record we supposedly made by planting seven crore saplings on July 2?” was the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s first poser at the review meeting of Narmada Sewa Mission here on Tuesday. After an uncomfortable silence, Y Satyam, adviser to the state planning commission, mumbled something about Guinness Book allowing one year time for seeking recognition for a world record. “But what were you all doing for the past six months,” the chief minister shot back. Satyam explained that as the presentation has to be made in English, it is taking time.

Chouhan also made it clear that he had doubts about the veracity of claims being made by the officials about the developmental projects executed on Narmada banks. “Don’t churn out figures. Tell me how much work has been done on the ground,” he asked. When the urban development department representative said that 120 changing rooms for women would be constructed at a cost of Rs 19 lakh, Chouhan said that the allocation was grossly inadequate.

Chouhan said that not a drop of industrial effluents should be allowed to flow into Narmada and the state’s mining policy should be implemented in a way so as to ensure that no damage is done to the river. He said that a grand programme would be organised in Jabalpur on December 11 to mark one year of the Narmada Yatra. He said that details of the projects initiated by the government for the conservation of Narmada should be presented before the people at the programme. Chouhan said that the presentations should be made by the people who planted the saplings on river banks. “Convince the people that we are genuinely and seriously working for conserving the river,” he said.