TERI, NHAI focus on developing policies for intense plantation on highways

Better policies needed for India to create carbon sink of up to 3 billion tonne of CO2 by 2030

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Sakshi Kuchroo | April 28, 2016


#TERI   #NHAI   #carbon sink  

Sakshi Kuchroo

India’s commitment to the UN for creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonne of CO2 by 2030 through increased tree cover and forest growth is a tall goal, said Dr Ajay Mathur, director general at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) on Wednesday.

A carbon sink is a reservoir that absorbs carbon compounds and is usually comprised of plants, ocean and soil. Creating carbon sinks by methods like transplantation of plants balance the greenery on land.

“It is easier said than done and if we want to meet this goal, we have to utilise every opportunity that comes by,” Mathur said.

“Intense plantation along highways is a sensible step towards achieving the goal but it is time consuming and expensive. The challenge for us is to develop protocols that can tackle with these issues and also involve all the other sectors of the government into this task,” Mathur said at a conference held in New Delhi on ‘Transplantations along national highways as a measure for Carbon Sequestration’.

The conference was held by TERI along with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), to deliberate upon the best technology and management of transplantation projects with the vision to create eco-friendly and aesthetically appealing highways.

Agreeing with Mathur’s views, SP Sharma, general manager, environment, NHAI, said that it is important to develop policies for feasible models that can help in restoring the greenery and building of better highways. “The [environment] ministry wants us to relocate trees along with highway construction work. But usual practice is to prevent damage to trees by planting them after the civil construction is done. We need to make proper policies for carrying out translocation and transplantation of trees,” he said.

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar, who was also present at the conference, further added that the government is planning to release Rs 42,000 crore for afforestation and in the next three years, every state will have to submit an afforestation plan with identified location. “National Greens Highways Mission is a major public initiative. We want to encourage public-private partnership under which 200 hectare patches will be given to private industries who are importing timber. This land will be given on lease for 40-50 years with 90 percent of the forest for harvest on a revenue-sharing basis. This will encourage business and create jobs. The guidelines for this will be soon issued,” he said.
 

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