"Planting is easy but sustainability is the real challenge so Punjab Public Works Department will partake in the plantation drive under Tandarust Punjab Mission with the redefined focus; our area of focus would be to build the confidence of farmers and to rope in volunteers, panchayats and NGOs for the upkeep of plants," informed Mr Vijay Inder Singla PWD Minister Punjab after a brainstorming session with officers from various departments. He vociferously claimed that greenery would be restored along the roads.Frankly admitting, Mr. Singla said that despite of policy in place for ensuring plantation along National and State Highways, the compliance is not to the desired level. So, to redress the issue regular monitoring and reporting would be done by the concerned PWD officials so that it may be taken up with the concerned contractor or the National Highways Authority as the case may be.As far as plantation along the rural link roads is concerned, considering the width and availability of adequate space for plantation, nearly 10,000 km stretch of roads can be utilized.
But, the primary concern here is that farmers resist or disapprove of plantation fearing adverse effect on crop yield due to shadow of high trees. He said keeping the concern of farmers on fore it has been worked out with the experts who suggested that there are species of trees that do not grow very tall, they remain nearly 8 to 10 ft high and would not be objected upon by the farmers and can aptly be grown along the link roads. The environmentalists have suggested that even the shrubs like Champa, Chandni, Savni, Kaner etc. are suitable on the link roads, said he. So, it has been decided to go ahead with the plantation of shrubs and medium sized trees with due advise from the Forests Department.Simultaneously, modalities are being worked out with the concerned departments to involve panchayats and MGNREGA workers in the maintenance of plants. Over and above all initiatives, attempts to sensitize people towards the upkeep of plants would be made through special awareness drives focusing on do's and don'ts in plantation process. This would be done extensively through print, electronic and social media and through awareness sessions by experts.On the occasion, valuable inputs and support was rendered by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Secretary PWD, Chairman PPCB, Chief Architect Punjab, Environmentalist Dr. Balwinder Singh Lakhewali, Officers from Rural Development & Panchyats Department, Mandi Board,CGM NHAI, DFO and District horticulture officer, Sangrur.