3rd-party audit of Delhi forest dept's plantation work from 2016 to 2019 completed; report expected in July: Rai

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New Delhi, June 4 (PTI) Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Friday said the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, has completed an audit of plantation work conducted by the Delhi Forest Department from 2016 to 2019 and a report will be submitted by July.

'I have ordered a strict independent third-party audit of the plantation work across Delhi. Various organisations and institutions are working on it,' a statement quoted the minister as saying.

The Forest Research Institute, Dehradun has completed the survey work for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 of the Department of Forests and Wildlife and will submit the report by the end of July, the statement read.

Other green agencies, including DMRC, NDMC, DUSIB, DDA, Delhi Cantonment, DJB, EDMC, PWD, North DMC and South DMC, are conducting independent audits of the plantation through Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi, Forest Research Institute in Dehradun and Certification Engineers International Limited.

'The Department of Forest and Wildlife has been pursuing this issue with all the greening agencies in the state. A few agencies have conducted third-party audits for the survival of plantations in the earlier years. For instance, NDMC (2016-17 and 2017-18), DDA (2018-19), PWD (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19) and Department of Forest (2009-10 to 2015-16),' the statement said.

Of the 18 greening agencies involved in yearly plantation drives, the forest department and the Delhi Development Authority plant the maximum number of saplings and shrubs.

Rai had last year said the government would get an audit conducted by FRI, which will help ascertain which species of plants, trees and shrubs have the best survival rate in Delhi and which regions in the city are best suited for their growth.

The Delhi Forest Department had earlier got an audit conducted by the Agricultural Finance Corporation for the plantation drive carried out during 2013 to 2015.

Various government agencies planted 32 lakh saplings in the financial year 2020-21. Of this, the forest department planted around 5.5 lakh saplings.

The government has set a target of planting 33 lakh saplings this financial year. It expects to increase the city's green cover to about 350 sq km this year from 325 sq km in 2019. PTI GVS SNE SNE

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