To all the questions on deforestation for development projects, the Central government’s repetitive response has been compensatory afforestation. Land in the Yamuna floodplains has been used for compensatory plantation. If the ecological premise of the government's restoration projects rest much on compensatory afforestation, are there enough studies to show whether the floodplains are the best place for afforestation? Are floodplains meant to be turned into forests? Do they not have an ecology of their own that is valuable? And what happens to the existing ecosystem? Does this initiative help them? What would that do to the river that flows through the floodplains and sometimes spills out of its banks? Most importantly, what if the river overflows, as we saw in the past week?
In this episode, reporter Sneha Richhariya visited the compensatory afforestation sites along the Yamuna floodplains and met the plantation labourers. She spoke to Pramod Kumar, District Forest Officer (DFO), Noida and Faiyaz Khudsar, who is a scientist in the Biodiversity Parks Programme of Centre for Environment Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE), University of Delhi.