Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Indore turning smart and development on the fast track have taken a major toll on the forest cover in the Indore circle. The compensatory afforestation for the circle is almost double this year due to diversion of forest land for non-forestry activities.
In fact, in just the Indore area, there is compensatory afforestation of 317,550 saplings. There are 16 locations in Indore where these saplings will be planted for compensatory afforestation.
Overall, in the Indore circle, about 8 lakh (790,050) saplings will be planted for compensatory afforestation. Although the overall number of saplings planted for compensatory plantation in the circle was close to 7 lakh even last year, the need for compensatory afforestation rose in Indore and Dhar, while it fell to one-third in the Alirajpur area. Hence, the overall compensatory afforestation increased by only 1 lakh.
The most shocking thing in the circle is diversion of forest land in the Dhar area. Here, for compensatory afforestation, the Indore forest department has to plant 322,500 saplings.
Nearly 1,600 hectares of forest land diverted
In the Indore circle, almost 1,600 hectares of forest land were diverted in 2022. This is almost 200 hectares more than in 2021. While in 2021, most of the land (570 hectares) was diverted from Alirajpur, this year, it came down to almost half at 300 hectares. The sad news is the amount of diverted forest land in Indore and Dhar went up exponentially.
In Indore, it went up from 452 hectares to 635 hectares. The biggest hike was in Dhar, where diverted forest land increased from 370 hectares in 2021 to 645 hectares in 2022.
Worse summer, delayed rains
Monsoon has been delayed much beyond predictions this year. One reason is the reduction in forest cover due to diversion. In the summer of 2022, Indore broke a 5-year record and baked at 43.4 degrees Celsius. The simple reason is reduced forest land. “As plants release water from their leaves through transpiration, the evaporation of water helps cool them and keep them from overheating,” chief conservator of forests (CCF) HS Mohanta said.
He added that the only way to save ourselves from heat strokes, keep the environment cool and attract rain is through afforestation. “We’ve completed nearly 15 percent of the plantation, but the rains were delayed this year. So now, we're planning to complete the plantation drive by July 20,” Mohanta said.
Table showing compensatory afforestation area & plantation