When Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has launched a mass movement called Harita Haram, literally meaning garland of greenery, not many believed that it would succeed. His call to plant trees and increase green cover in villages, towns and cities with slogan that “send back monkeys, and bring back rains” was well received by people, thus making the project public participatory.
In 2015, National Forest Policy of India took an initiative to achieve a minimum of 33% of the total geographical area under forest/ tree cover to maintain environmental stability and ecological balance in the State.
Telangana Ku Haritha Haaram, a flagship programme of the Telangana government was conceived to increase the forest cover from present 24% to 33% of the total geographical area of the State. The thrust areas to achieve the above were two-fold; one, initiatives in notified forest areas, and the other, initiatives in areas outside the notified forest areas.
The first objective is sought to be achieved by a multi-pronged approach of rejuvenating degraded forests. The programme aims to ensure effective protection of forests against smuggling, encroachment, fire, grazing and intensive soil and moisture conservation measures following the watershed approach.
Major fillip is to be given to social forestry for achieving the second objective. The main focus was in the areas outside the notified forest for which massive planting activities were taken up in areas such as; road-side avenues, river and canal bank, barren hill, tank bunds and foreshore areas, institutional premises, religious places, housing colonies, community lands, municipalities, industrial parks, etc.
The field functionaries of various line departments undertook identification of sites for planting and Village Action Plans were prepared. The Village Action Plans were consolidated at Mandal level and finally at the District level to form District Action Plan. At State level, two committees; the State Level Coordination and Monitoring Committee, and the State Level Steering Committee oversaw the progress of the Telangana Ku Haritha Haaram programme.
The third phase began on 12 July 2017 by President Ram Nath Kovind with 230 crore plants.