Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan focuses towards participation from the village locals, NGOs, non-resident villagers, religious communities, and corporate houses through their CSR initiatives in cash, kind, and labour for water harvesting in Rajasthan's rural areas. Now to speed up the process and increase the benefits, one another aspect has been added, which is a plantation of trees. Alongside Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan, plantation of trees aims for the objective of raising the ground water levels. That’s why Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje gave necessary directions to officials to carry out a plantation drive during which more than 25 lakh saplings would be planted in Rajasthan where the state government will start intensive plantation from July 15. Plantation will be done around water catchment structures built under MJSA campaign. The Chief Minister also asked them to ensure that the saplings are properly watered and that they grow and survive. She instructed officials for an arrangement for taking care and availability of plants for two years.
The Forest department is set to plant saplings in public areas under Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan (MJSA) apart from its targeted 61,000 hectares under the afforestation during monsoon. According to the officials, for the first time, the department is moving away from its traditional practice of plantation only in forest areas. Under MJSA, where water retention structures are being created, they will do plantation around the structures. The exercise will be carried out in all the 3,500 selected villages as confirmed by an official forest department. The aim is to complete the plantation process before monsoon so that full benefit of it can be taken.
Plantation of trees brings a lot to the table as there are many benefits which come from these plantations which would benefit the ongoing MJSA campaign as well. Let’s start with basic ones. Trees protect against soil erosion. They help prevent runoff of manure and fertilizer into water courses. Trees trap and retain nutrients and sediment in polluted run-off before it reaches rivers and streams. Connecting existing woodland habitats by planting hedgerows or shelterbelts can boost biodiversity as plants, animals and birds are able to migrate between habitats. Planting trees absorb and lock up carbon, helping to reduce your net carbon emissions. Trees can reduce the impact of drought as, under the right conditions, shelterbelts can enable crops to use water more efficiently which could reduce the need for irrigation and lead to less abstraction. This adds up to the goals of the campaign and will help in creating an environment of water stability.