In 2015, Telangana's chief minister, K Chandrasekar Rao, launched an ambitious tree plantation programme in the state, named Telanganaku Haritha Haram, or a Green Garland for Telangana. Government data suggests that the programme has seen significant success – in 2019-’21, Telangana achieved the second-highest expansion of its green cover of all the states, behind only Andhra Pradesh.
But these numbers conceal deep-rooted flaws in the programme. Across the state, cultivators who have farmed for land for decades, including members of Scheduled Tribes, have been evicted from those lands, to make way for plantations.
Further, though the program is planting a variety of native trees, there is insufficient data to understand how or whether it will mitigate the impacts of climate change.