NAGPUR: BVG India, the plantation agency of Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), had claimed a plantation success rate of 80%, but the actual figure is nowhere near this mark. TOI visited some of BVG's plantation sites and found that very few saplings had survived. NIT chairman Dipak Mhaisekar has urged the state government to appoint botanical experts to probe the plantation scam.
Most of the sites are located in interiors, in localities far away from main roads. Unless you are a resident of the locality, these sites are difficult to find. TOI first visited Ambedkar Udyan, Shreehari Nagar, Manewada. According to BVG it had planted 17 saplings in 2012-13. However, only four saplings have grown into medium sized trees while the rest have not survived.
Locals said that most saplings died within six to seven months of plantation. "We had even requested NIT authorities to conduct replantation, but with no results," said a resident Rajesh Hore.
TOI then proceeded to PMG Housing Society in Narendra Nagar where 12 saplings were planted by BVG. A resident Sharad Ruhikar said that about two years BVG staffers had given mango saplings to some of the residents. "I had planted the sapling in my compound but it died after two months. The other saplings planted by me on my own survived. I feel that the quality of sapling was poor and hence it did not survive," he said, adding that NIT had promised to provide fertilizer but had not done so.
As per the agency, 22 saplings were planted in the premises of Sant Gajanan Maharaj Temple, Dandekar Layout, Narendra Nagar. But not even half of them have survived. "I don't know the reason but most of them died within a few months," said a resident.
Out of the 70 saplings reportedly planted by BVG on a ground near the railway line in Pawan Bhumi Layout, Somalwada, not even 10 have survived. A fruit seller Arjun Giripunje told TOI that a water tanker used to come once in eight days to water the saplings. "Only the saplings that we watered have survived. Rest of them died during summer. This locality suffers acute water shortage and is not the right place for plantation," he said.
At three grounds in Sasane Layout and Ekatmata Nagar, Jaitala, the agency had planted 71 saplings. One ground that TOI visited had only eight medium-sized trees while a nearby ground had only one.
Locals said that most of the saplings planted in the first phase did not survive. "Some months later replantation was done but even those saplings died, probably due to grazing. Whatever small plants you see here were planted and are being maintained by us," said Sheetal Matale.
Recently, TOI had visited BVG plantation sites at Ambazari reserve forest, Mihan and Amravati Road. The picture was no different there.