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Greener than the greenest

Gandhinagar Has Highest Tree Cover In India

Himanshu Kaushik | TNN


Ahmedabad: Gujarat’s capital – Gandhinagar – could well be India’s tree capital. The latest figures of a census conducted by the state government show that 53.9% of its 5,700-hectare area is covered with trees.
Effectively, there are 416 trees for every 100 people in the city. This is more than any other city in the country. The census was conducted by the social forestry department along with various municipal corporations and urban development authorities.
Drive 35 km out of Gandhinagar and the scenario changes drastically in Ahmedabad where there are just 11 trees for every 100 people. While there are as many as 8.66 lakh trees in the state capital, the population is just 2.08 lakh people. At this rate, there is 15 sq m land of trees for every person. The smaller municipal corporations in the state like Vadodara, Junagadh and Bhavnagar have better average than Ahmedabad.
According to Forest Survey of India, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Delhi have a green cover of 18.9%, 14.9% and 11.9%, respectively.
H S Singh, additional principal chief conservator of forests, social forestry, said, “Gandhinagar’s tree cover is comparable with the best in the world. Atlanta in the US, for instance, is considered among the greenest cities globally and has exactly the same percentage of land under tree cover as Gandhinagar’s.”
“Gandhinagar was just a barren piece of land when work first started to turn it into a state capital in 1965,” Singh added. “The social forestry division was given the task of greening the area. Ever since, more than 35 lakh trees have been planted and their survival rate has been very high. Also, in 1991 land reserved for development was used for plantation, making the city one of the greenest.”
The eight municipal corporations in Gujarat have 33.01 lakh trees over an area of 1.33 lakh hectares. The overall tree density in the municipal corporations was just 22 trees for every 100 persons on an average. P 2 

Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.