Delhi govt to celebrate 'Van Mahotsav' from June 26-July 11: Rai

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New Delhi, Jun 5 (PTI) The Delhi government will celebrate 'Van Mahotsav' from June 26 to July 11 as part of a mega drive under which 33 lakh saplings will planted across the city this year, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Saturday.

On World Environment Day, the minister said saplings of various medicinal plants will be available to 14 government-run nurseries free of cost from June 7.

Delhi's environment department also released a booklet having the description of all the plants available in the nurseries, including Amrud, Tulsi, Amla, and Giloy.

Urging Delhiites to join the drive, the minister said, 'The government under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kehriwal has run several campaigns to reduce air pollution in the city and the efforts have helped us to bring down air pollution in Delhi by 25 per cent.

'This plantation drive take things one step forward in improving the environment for good.' 'I appeal to the citizens of Delhi to come forward and join the movement and plant at least one sapling in their parks, terrace or verandah during happy occasions of their lives like birthdays and marriage anniversaries,' he added. All the cabinet ministers of Delhi, Speaker of the Delhi Legislative Assembly, MLAs, NGOs and RWA's will be taking part in the ambitious drive, he said. The plan for the mega plantation drive, to be handled by several different Delhi government departments and agencies including the environment department, DDA, MCD, PWD, and BSES, will be finalised during a virtual meeting on June 9, he said.

'While the plantation drive will continue for the entire year, the 'Van Mahotsav' will be a 15-day affair where all government agencies would get together and participate in the 'Variksharopan' programme.

'The preparation for this would be done during a meeting on June 9 and details on how the number of saplings to be planted by different agencies will be given,' he explained.

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

The government expects to increase the city's green cover to about 350 sq km this year from 325 sq km in 2019. PTI MG TDS TDS

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