The processes for obtaining government licences are already long and tedious. The Jajpur district administration in Odisha has stretched them further by making plantation a precondition for granting its approval. And no one is complaining.

The Jajpur administration has stumbled upon the novel idea to popularise plantation drive by assigning specific number of trees to be planted against each licence or service.

Getting a gun licence requires thorough verification of one’s criminal antecedents, address authentication and certificate of good behaviour from neighbours. Now, one has to plant 10 trees before seeking new gun licence and five trees for licence renewal. Similar precondition has been kept for opening of new foreign liquor shops and renewal of licence.

“We are not taxing people with the additional condition. But we want to inculcate a practice whose outcome will be beneficial for future generation,” said Jajpur District Collector Ranjan Kumar Dash.

“During regular reviews, we found fair price shop dealers were very unpopular among people. We asked them to carry out plantation for image makeover. As many as 700 retailers planted 7,000 trees and submitted proof,” said Mr. Dash.

People have been asked to choose any government land, school premises, temples, mutt or their own backyards to do the plantation before submission of applications.

Plantation, which has to be self-certified through photographic or video evidence, has been made mandatory for eight services including society registration, license for minor mineral, setting up crusher units, purchase of new vehicles and issuance of solvency certificate.

According to the District Collector, the administration reserves right to carry out random checking of plantations. The district administration, which began the drive since Rath Yatra, achieved a milestone when public planted 1.25 lakh trees alone in Jajpur block on Sunday.

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