Hyderabad: Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao on Saturday directed the officials concerned to prepare necessary plans for increasing greenery and creating more urban lung spaces in all municipal areas. He held a video conference with the elected representatives, Municipal Commissioners and Additional District Collectors to review preparations for the sixth phase of Telangana Ku Haritha Haram programme scheduled to be launched on June 20.

To give a forest-like experience in the heart of urban areas, the State government is considering the development of an exclusive tree park each in all the 141 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), including the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Unlike the existing parks, which have flower plants, ornamental shrubs, walking tracks and sit-outs among others, the tree parks will be filled with only tall and massive trees.

Further, urban forest blocks will be developed in the vicinity of about 90 ULBs across the State.

Rama Rao wanted the officials and the elected representatives to actively participate in the upcoming Haritha Haaram programmes and make efforts to turn each ULB into a green city or a green town. He wanted them to take up the responsibility of safeguarding the saplings and ensure at least 85% survival rate of saplings. Besides preparing necessary action plans for supplying water, installing tree guards and other arrangements, he asked them to observe every Friday as Green Friday hereafter.

The Minister reiterated that all the ULBs must spend 10% of their annual budget as green budget for increasing the green cover in their respective cities and towns. He asked the officials to involve the public in Haritha Haram and take up massive plantation of saplings. Apart from improving facilities in the existing nurseries established in the ULBs, he insisted that all ULBs maintain a nursery each.

Rama Rao suggested planting sweet-smelling or fragrant saplings at dump yards to reduce foul smell. He also wanted them to plant tall growing saplings and mosquito repellant plants widely in urban areas. The officials were instructed to examine the feasibility of developing memorial parks. To constantly monitor the Haritha Haram activities in ULBs, a special officer will be appointed in the office of Commissioner and Director of Municipal Administration at the State-level.

He pointed out that the State government was releasing the Finance Commission funds directly to municipalities. It had already released around Rs 1,000 crore over the last few months. With the monsoon season starting, he asked the authorities to take up sanitation drives for prevention of seasonal diseases and take up sanitation works, which are four times more than the normal conditions in view of the coronavirus pandemic. He directed removing silt from drainage canals and clearing sewerage pipelines regularly to ensure smooth flow of rainwater and also sewerage water.

Rama Rao wanted the authorities to flag water-logging points and manholes with signboards to ensure people avoid them. He urged people to voluntarily participate in the ‘Every Sunday at 10 am for 10 minutes’ programme and clear water stagnation in their respective homes to prevent mosquito breeding.

He also appreciated Yellandu Municipal Chairman D Venkateshwara Rao and Commissioner Veerender for submitting a detailed report on activities taken up in their municipality during Pattana Pragathi. He suggested that all ULBs prepare similar reports explaining the conditions in their respective towns and cities with photographs before and after the Pattana Pragathi programme to be presented before the people.

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