U.P. budget focus: Fighting forest fires, Kukrail night safari - Hindustan Times
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U.P. budget focus: Fighting forest fires, Kukrail night safari

By, Lucknow
Feb 06, 2024 08:00 AM IST

The Uttar Pradesh state budget for 2024 prioritizes the prevention of forest fires and increasing green cover. The government plans to plant 35 crore saplings for the second consecutive year and aims to raise the state's green cover to 15% by 2030. Additionally, funds have been allocated for an aquarium at Gorakhpur zoo, a night safari in the Kukrail forest area, and the Agra Metro project. The budget also emphasizes the Jal Jeevan Mission and rainwater harvesting.

Prevention of forest fires and increasing green cover in Uttar Pradesh remained a priority in the state budget-2024.

Uttar Pradesh finance minister Suresh Kumar Khanna presents state Budget 2024-25 in the UP Assembly in Lucknow, on Monday. (HT Photo)
Uttar Pradesh finance minister Suresh Kumar Khanna presents state Budget 2024-25 in the UP Assembly in Lucknow, on Monday. (HT Photo)

The state government proposed 2.95 crore for the prevention of forest fires.

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Aiming to take the state’s green cover to 15%, the state will plant 35 crore saplings for a consecutive second year in 2024, said the state finance minister Suresh Khanna.

“Currently, the forest cover in Uttar Pradesh constitutes 9.23% of the state’s geographical area. The objective is to raise the forest cover and tree cover to 15% by 2030,” he said.

For a new aquarium at Gorakhpur zoo, 15 crore has been proposed.

In the current financial year 2023-24, over 36.16 crore saplings have been planted in the state to expand the greenery in Uttar Pradesh, against a target of 35 crore. A target of planting 35 crore saplings is proposed in the rainy season of 2024.

According to statistics, forest fires in the state have gone down in the past three years. Between November 2020 to June 2021 there were 10,275 cases while between November 2021 to June 2022 a total 6,030 cases and between November 2022 to June 2023, 3,339 cases were reported.

The state allocated 50 crore for developing a night safari in the Kukrail forest area. The night safari will house wild animals and visitors will be able to see them after dusk. This is the first such venture of the state government. At present, visitors go to Lucknow zoo during the day and see animals in their enclosures. The night safari will be a different experience.

Agra Metro project gets 346 crore

Agra

The state government has allocated 346 crore in the state budget presented on Monday. Agra Metro project that began in December 2020 is to be completed in a five-year term, at a cost of 8,300 crore.

“We welcome the allocation of the budget for the Agra Metro Rail project. The work for this ambitious project is well ahead of time, and the priority corridor of the Agra Metro Rail project by Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) is complete well ahead of its August 2024 deadline and might be inaugurated soon,” said Panchanan Mishra, DGM, public relations, UPMRC.

The project began with the Prime Minister blessing the event on December 7, 2020. Half the project is being financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) while both the state and centre are sharing the remaining half of project cost equally.

The Uttar Pradesh government had last year allocated 465 crore and this year, the state budget has made a provision for allocation of 346 crore for the Agra Metro Rail project.

The underground section for the priority stretch of Agra Metro Rail Project has been completed in a record time of 11 months which is the fastest tunnel construction for any project, claimed Mishra.

Emphasis on Jal Jeevan Mission, rainwater harvesting

Lucknow The state government has allocated funds for new irrigation projects and to complete ongoing ones.

Uttar Pradesh Jal Shakti minister, Swatantra Dev Singh, said that the ban on providing new private tubewell connections in the dark zone has been lifted, which will directly benefit one lakh farmers.

At the same time, benefits of seasonal tariff and facility of temporary power connection have also been provided for irrigation of single Rabi crop in Bundelkhand. Budget provision of 1,100 crore has been proposed to provide free water facility to farmers from canals and government tube wells, he said.

A provision of 1,530.60 crore has been proposed for river improvement and erosion prevention projects (NABARD funded). The state government has also allotted 22,000 crore for the Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap water to rural households, he said.

He said that 1,020 crore is proposed for the Chief Minister’s Minor Irrigation Scheme. A provision of 80 crore is proposed for the Rainwater Harvesting and Ground Water Augmentation Scheme. 65 crore has been allotted for groundwater recharging and construction of check dams.

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