Raipur, Aug 31 (IANS) In a desperate bid to contain pollution, the Chhattisgarh government has directed 14 leading public and private industrial groups to plant saplings on 800 km of the state's roads this year.
'The companies will have to maintain greenery by planting saplings across 800 km of national highways, state highways and district roads,' said Industry Minister Ranjesh Munat.
'The government is very concerned about rising industrial pollution and ecological imbalance in the state,' Munat told IANS.
The decision follows an alarming rise in industrial pollution in cities like Raipur, Bhilai and Korba and widespread protests by people's groups.
The 14 groups include aluminium major Balco, Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP), Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL), National Thermal Power Corp and India's largest iron ore producer and exporter National Mineral Development Corp (NMDC).
The others in the list are South Eastern Coalfield Ltd, Lafarage India, Century Cement, Monnet Ispat, Ultratech, Prakash Steel Industries, Raipur Allies and Hira Groups.
According to Munat, the groups have to plant saplings in three rows, on both sides of the road and in the middle too, within this year.
'The government will keep close watch on the new environmental tasks of the industrial houses and will also ensure improvement in environmental pollution with active support of the major business firms,' the minister observed.
Raipur has been declared the most polluted city of the country according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).