Govt plans 1,400km long great ‘green wall’ of India
Forest To Fight Degradation, Dust Pollution
New Delhi: The Centre is mulling an ambitious plan to create a 1,400km long and 5km wide green belt from Gujarat to the Delhi-Haryana border, on the lines of the “Great Green Wall” running through the width of Africa, from Dakar (Senegal) to Djibouti, to combat climate change and desertification.
Though the idea is at a nascent stage, it has generated a lot of excitement among officials in different ministries who believe that the project, if approved, may turn out to be a legacy programme in India’s efforts to deal with land degradation and the eastward march of the Thar desert.
They believe creating a green belt from Porbandar to Panipat will help restore degraded land through afforestation along the Aravali range that spans across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi, and act as a barrier for dust coming from the deserts in western India and Pakistan.
“The idea of creating a huge green belt was part of the agenda of the recent conference (COP14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in India. But it could not be taken up there as final clearance is awaited,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
Though the “Great Green Wall” of Africa, mooted almost a decade ago, is still far from reality due to the involvement of many countries in its implementation, India seeks replicate the idea as a national priority under its goal to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
However, no official was willing to speak about the plan on record, saying it would be premature to discuss it before the approval stage.They said the green belt may not be contiguous, but would roughly cover the entire degraded Aravali range through a massive afforestation exercise. Once approved, its implementation will start with degraded forest land with more stretches coming in for restoration after taking farmers on board.
The Aravali has been identified as one of the key degraded zones to be taken up for greening under India’s target to restore 26 mha of its land. India has, at present, 96.4 mha of degraded land which is 29.3% of the country’s total geographical area (328.7 mha). “A legacy programme like converting such a huge tract of land as a green belt in high-intensive land-degraded states will be great boost,” said an official.
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Rough contours of proposed 1,400km ‘green wall’ Forest belt likely to run roughly from covering entire Aravali range and beyond ‘Green wall’ will act as barrier for dust from west and check eastward march of Thar desert by It will check desertification Project yet to get formal nod, details to be worked out