(New Delhi, June 22, 2014) – “‘The length of National Highways in the country is one lakh [100.000] kilometre. I have asked officials to come out with a plan to plant 200 crore [2.000.000.000] trees along these stretches which in turn would create jobs for the unemployed on the one hand and protect the environment on the other,’ Road Transport, Highways, Shipping and Rural Development Minister Nitin Jairam Gadkari said in New Delhi on Friday.” Source: The Hindu
PROUT demands that the security of people should come first of all. The first duty of the government is to see to that all people are able to feed themselves and their families.
Now the new Indian government will be planting 2 billion trees along the Indian highway system for job and environmental purposes. In order to serve the real needs of the people, those trees should be fruit trees, and not just decorative trees. Locals wherever those highways pass should reap the benefit of these fruits.
Wherever locals find problems with planting fruit trees along the roads, the trees should be planted wherever suitable in order to serve the needy. Local villagers via local Panchayats (village-based government) should have collective ownership of the proposed trees, i.e. the government should not just give this scheme to contractors for some money to sell the fruits.
In this way the local people can eat to capacity, and get the extra fruit processed in small factories, in form of pulp, marmalade, dried items, etc., for later consumption and also export to other regions of India and overseas.
During the 1980s the founder of PROUT, Shri Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar, gave Proutistic solutions for planting trees and crops in villages appropriate to the climate. A few of his discourses involving such items are listed here:
Contai Basin Planning
Economic Self-sufficiency for Bengal
Dr Satish Narula, senior Extension Specialist (Horticulture) of Punjab Agricultural University, has also given proper thought to the idea of planting fruit trees along highways in India:
Trees such as jamun, arjun, silver oak and eucalyptus should never be planted along highways. Nor should the selection of trees be made at random. Climatic conditions, rainfall, soil type and inclusion of local flora should be taken into consideration before plantation.
Plants like White Siris should be planted as their light coloured trunk reflects even the minutest of light on the highway. This is in contrast to the brown trunk trees like mahogany, neem, mango, etc that do not reflect sufficient light.