In a world record of sorts, the people of Ahmedabad today planted 7.5-lakh saplings in a day at 400-odd places in the city.
A lot of ground had to be broken to make this massive tree plantation drive a success, taken up as part of 'Green Ahmedabad' campaign to coincide with the annual Van Mahotsav. It assumed special significance this being the state's golden jubilee year.
The number is expected to go up to 8.5-lakh saplings by the end of the day, if the area under Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) is included the campaign besides that under Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), in addition to 1.5-lakh saplings scheduled to be planted in housing colonies privately held plots.
Inaugurating the campaign on the Gujarat University campus here, Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi thanked the citizens, young and old, women and children, for breaking an earlier record of 5.5-lakhs saplings planted in a day in entire Pakistan.
He exhorted particularly youth to vow to nurture trees across the state. He called for the need to create an army or 'eco-soldiers' to fulfill the twin objectives of 'save water, grow tree', and to fight the vote bank politics of the country.While the world dreads its own creations like global warming and climate changes, Mr. Modi said, Gujarat becomes the fourth government in the world to set a separate department for climate change, address the problem through trusteeship and awareness programmes. He listed CNG-powered auto-rickshaw, BRTS buses and fluoride-free Narmada water as government's eco-friendly initiatives.
Ahmedabad Mayor Kanaji Thakor said it was also an occasion to launch 'swarnim van' on the campus. Vice-Chancellor Parimal Trivedi said two lakh students are planting saplings at 13 Schools of Studies today.
Gujarat's Forest & Environment Secretary S.K. Nanda said that each tree on an average blocked 20-kg carbon and emited17-kg oxygen every year.