Lack of rainfall hits Uttar Pradesh plantation drive


Lucknow : Dry weather conditions in Uttar Pradesh, where 58 of the total 71 districts have been declared drought-hit, are hampering a sapling plantation drive of the state government, say officials.

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The initiative was jointly launched by the state forest department, the public works department and various civic agencies July 1 with a goal to make the state greener. The government has allocated Rs.70 crore for the plantation drive.

However, officials said they were doubtful of meeting the target of planting 81.9 million saplings by Aug 15 because of scanty rainfall.

As the agriculture sector in the state has been affected by the lack of rainfall this monsoon season, the state has declared 58 districts drought-affected in July last week.

The government declared 20 districts drought-hit July 25, and 27 more July 26. The remaining 11 districts were declared drought-affected July 30.

“Shortage of water is severely affecting the plantation drive. In such dry weather conditions, protection of saplings has become quite difficult for us,” B.R. Ahirwar, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Kanpur, told IANS over telephone.

“If such weather conditions continue to prevail, we may not be able to meet the target.”

In Kanpur, only 35 percent of the targeted saplings were planted in July. The situation is similar in other divisions also.

Only 40-45 percent of the total saplings were planted in Agra, Bareilly, Faizabad, Gorakhpur, Basti, Lucknow, Jhansi divisions last month, officials said.

There is not a single district in the state where rainfall has been above normal this season.

The state capital Lucknow has received lowest rainfall in two decades. From June 1 to July 31, Lucknow recorded 192.3 mm rainfall against the normal of 357.9 mm for this period.