Chennai Corporation plans to permit residents to visit Miyawaki forests

The Corporation has developed these forests at 30 locations so far; the civic body will allow residents inside to collect medicinal herbs

The Greater Chennai Corporation has decided to permit residents to visit Miyawaki forests developed in various parts of the city.

Speaking to reporters on Monday at the first Miyawaki forest in Kotturpuram, Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash said the Corporation will permit residents inside the first Miyawaki forests after six months. “Residents will be permitted to get medicinal herbs from the Miyawaki forests for their personal use,” he said.

Miyawaki forests are developed based on a Japanese method of restoration of degraded land, planting species of trees, plants and shrubs, regenerating all layers of original forests in a particular area.

The Corporation has developed Miyawaki forests at 30 locations, Mr. Prakash said, and asked residents’ associations are to inform the civic body about unused OSR plots of land to develop more Miyawaki forests. “We appeal for support from residents associations and corporates to develop Miyawaki forests. They will be permitted to maintain the forests and place signboards and advertisements,” said Mr. Prakash. Once the corporates and residents welfare associations submit an Expression of Interest, the Greater Chennai Corporation will issue orders in 48 hours permitting them to develop Miyawaki forests in any of the 15 zones of the city.

“We appeal for the use of CSR funds for the development of Miyawaki forests. The increase in green cover is expected to promote biodiversity and mitigate pollution in urban areas, “ said Mr.Prakash.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has already planted 60,000 saplings in 30 Miyawaki forests in all the three regions of the city.

Residents have also been asked to inform the Chennai Corporation about encroachments of Corporation land. Officials will remove encroachments and explore the possibility of developing Miyawaki forests in such areas, he said. Officials have estimated that more than 20 lakh trees and shrubs are likely to be planted in the Miyawaki forests in the city.

Defacement of signboards

Answering reporters’ questions about the defacement of signboards in various parts of the city, Mr. Prakash said the civic body has issued a circular to prevent political parties from defacing the 60,000 signboards at road junctions.

“We are exploring the possibility of including the defacement expenses in the account of the political party candidates,” said Mr. Prakash.

Mr. Prakash also advised residents to submit application pertaining to electoral rolls ahead of the elections. “The electors/population ratio is as high as 82% in Chennai. This is because of migration,” he said.

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