The Railways have planned to plant five crore saplings by 2019-20 on railway land along the tracks with close cooperation of the state governments, Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said the initiative has been taken in pursuance of the Railways' commitment towardsenvironmental improvement and sustainable development.
"Railways have planned to plant five crore saplings by 2019-20 on railway land boundary along the railway tracksdepending upon availability of resources and cooperation from the state forest department," he said during Question Hour.
To achieve this, Railways have taken many strategic initiatives that include involvement of forest departments ofthe states for plantation as well as maintenance and disposal of trees, thus bringing in the much needed expertise inafforestation, he said.
ALSO READ | Indian Railways goes for Rs 10,000 cr tech and track upgrade: Prabhu
Prabhu said the Railway Ministry have finalised a model agreement in consultation with the Environment Ministry to beentered between Zonal Railways and state forest departments for plantation of trees on railway land along the tracks andstation yards without transferring the ownership of the land in favour of the state forest department.
As per the agreement, plantation along the railway track on railway land boundary can be done by forest departmentwithout declaring such land as protected forest and can be re-used by railways at any time without any hindrance torailway works.
The agreement has already been finalised with state forest department of Haryana, Punjab, Assam, Karnataka and West Bengal, he said.