Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government forest department has instituted an inquiry to verify claims made by the previous BJP government that 50 crore trees had been planted across the state at an estimated cost of Rs 3,000 crore. After changing the government, now the forest department is with the Shiv Sena which was earlier with the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis government in the state.
In 2016, the Fadnavis government launched the Harit Maharashtra Campaign to plant trees, under which 50 crore trees were to be planted in four years. The then forest minister and BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar has undertaken the project tpo replenish the depleting forest cover across the state. Famous actor Amitabh Bachchan was its brand ambassador for the drive. The Shiv Sena, which runs the government of Maha Vikas Aghadi government in collaboration with NCP and Congress has decided that it will investigate the claims of planting 50 crore trees through satellite images.
According to Fadnavis government data, 2.82 crore trees were planted in the first year of the tree planting drive. The target was to plant only 2 crore trees in the first year. In 2017, more than 5.17 crore trees were planted, more than the target of planting 4 crore trees. At the same time in 2018, more than 15.17 crore trees were planted.
Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod told the media on Wednesday that this decision has been taken when some of the earlier and current ministers have complained. In which he has raised doubts about the actual number of trees. In an event, Rathod said, “I had received many complaints from ministers and others that 50 crore trees have not been planted.” “We will use satellite imaginary to verify the claims made. The government also wants to find how much money has been spent to plant these trees.”