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Fruit trees along the highways – Soon a reality in India

By Abhishek Saxena | Cool Ideas

Feb 14
fruit trees along highway dynamicpedia

Think of a situation when you have gone for a long drive and after some time you feel hungry. You don’t find a restaurant nearby, but what you see on both sides of the highway are fruit trees of mango and jamun and you feel like picking a few to satisfy your taste buds. Believe it or not, this is going to be a reality soon.

In the next couple of years, one big change to expect is that there will be a green belt of fruit trees of mango, imli, jackfruit, jamun, bel, mahua etc and ornamental shrubs running alongside the highways be it Delhi Jaipur highway (NH8) or any other national highway. As per the Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification & Maintenance) Policy, 2015 recently announced by Shri Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, fruit bearing trees which can provide shade will be planted along the roads unlike the previous practice of planting non fruit bearing trees like eucalyptus and Australian babool.

I live in Gurgaon and work in one of the corporate houses in DLF Cyber City. I have always wondered why we can’t plant fruit and vegetable bearing trees on the road sides, in parks, in hotel and society landscapes, in the green belt maintained by big corporate houses like DLF in their campus etc.

There are many benefits that can be achieved out of this including:-

  1. Augmentation of food supply
  2. Reduction of prices of fruits and vegetables due to increased supply
  3. Feed our entire population including poor people
  4. Increase in the earning as these fruits and vegetables can also be sold in the market.

Recently I heard about the new Green Highways Policy and I could not resist myself from sharing this information with all the readers. Under this policy, specialized agencies will be hired to plant and maintain trees along the highways. The type of fruits will be planted depending on the type of soil and the climate for example Alphonso can be planted in Konkan in Maharashtra, tamarind can be planted in Chhattisgarh.

Fine print of the above policy:-

  1. Promoting greenery with the participation of local community, farmers, NGOs etc
  2. Tree-line to cover approximately 140,000 kms of national highways
  3. 1% of the highway project cost to be set aside for tree plantation
  4. Generate employment opportunities for more than 5 lakh people from rural areas
  5. Strong monitoring mechanism with the help of GAGAN and ISRO’s Bhuvan satellite system
  6. Counting and auditing of the number of trees
  7. 1200 road side amenities to be established
  8. Promoting bio-fuel and e-rickshaws
  9. Bridge the gap between 33% tree cover envisaged by National Forest Policy and the current forest cover of only 22%.
  10. Row wise scheme of planting the trees as depicted in the below image.
Fruit plantation along the highways dynamicpedia

Image source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

Fruit trees give a lot more value as they bear fruits as well as provide shade like any other tree. I welcome this policy and look forward to it with great excitement.

The only issue that I foresee with planting fruit trees is that it will attract animals which can be a menace at certain locations.

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