GUWAHATI, July 2 - As part of its effort to contribute towards a sustainable environment, Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has fixed a target to plant at least 10 lakh saplings during the current financial year.
The zonal railway has already executed an agreement with the Government of Assam for carrying out plantation drives on railway land and it is also working towards executing similar agreements with the state governments in West Bengal and Bihar.
Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of NFR, told The Assam Tribune that large-scale plantation drives have been carried out by the zone during the past few years. This year, the target is to ramp up the operation even further.
The Railways had planted 5.22 lakh saplings across the NFR zone during 2015-16. The figure went up to 6.94 lakh saplings during 2016-17, before coming down to 5.33 lakh saplings in 2017-18.
�NFR planted 5,33,300 saplings within its areas during 2017-18 year as part of its commitment towards a greener, safer and more sustainable environment. The target for plantation for the year 2018-19 has been kept at 10 lakh saplings,� said Sharma.
He said that the plants and saplings are being collected from the Railways� own resource and from the forest departments of states.
�Plantation along railway land boundary and vacant railway land is considered for plantation primarily. The saplings are planted along railway tracks, around office buildings, in stations, residential colonies, schools, workshops and parks maintained by Railways. NFR has also maintained these saplings and the survival rate is quite high. Plants are being maintained with the Railways� own resources. Normally, Railways uses its own resources for plantation on railway land through contracts,� said Sharma.
He said that generally shady and flowering trees like gulmohar, bokul, babool and bougainvillea are planted.
�An agreement for 10 years has been executed between NFR and forest department of the Government of Assam for plantation on railway land and subsequent maintenance. Execution of similar agreements with the governments of West Bengal and Bihar is under process,� said the NFR CPRO.
He said that the plantation drives carried out in recent years have brought good results.
�Improved greenery on railway land has been achieved at many places. Besides, encroachment on railway land is being restricted by this effort,� said Sharma.
It is noteworthy that the Indian Railways is stepping up efforts to reduce emission by 33 per cent in the next 10-12 years through sustained energy efficiency measures and maximum use of clean fuel. Besides, it has set a target to plant at least five crore saplings and trees on railway land across India by 2020.