The Railways have planned to plant five crore saplings by 2019-20 on railway land along the tracks with close cooperation of the state governments, Lok Sabha was informed today.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the initiative has been taken in pursuance of the Railways’ commitment towards environmental improvement and sustainable development.
“Railways have planned to plant five crore saplings by 2019-20 on railway land boundary along the railway tracks depending upon availability of resources and cooperation from the state forest department,” he said during Question Hour.
To achieve this, Railways have taken many strategic initiatives that include involvement of forest departments of the states for plantation as well as maintenance and disposal of trees, thus bringing in the much needed expertise in afforestation, he said.
Prabhu said the Railway Ministry have finalised a model agreement in consultation with the Environment Ministry to be entered between Zonal Railways and state forest departments for plantation of trees on railway land along the tracks and station yards without transferring the ownership of the land in favour of the state forest department.
As per the agreement, plantation along the railway track on railway land boundary can be done by forest department without declaring such land as protected forest and can be re-used by railways at any time without any hindrance to railway works.
The agreement has already been finalised with state forest department of Haryana, Punjab, Assam, Karnataka and West Bengal, he said.