Nagpur: Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar will lead the State to achieve an ambitious target of planting 50 crore trees in the coming three years in an attempt to stave off rampant deforestation. Beginning with, a massive drive to increase green cover across the state will start off with the plantation of two crore trees on July 1.
“From August, the state seeks to develop nurseries in all villages and the required funds for preparing saplings in these nurseries would be made available by the District Planning Committee,” said Mungantiwar ahead of the Forest Festival. “After development of nurseries in all villages, well-developed saplings would be made available in the next three years for plantation,” said Mungantiwar. The minister said that the plantation will take place on the forest and non-forest areas and people’s participation is vital for the success of the campaign. The government will also use vacant land owned by the railways for the plantation drive.
“Of the total vacant land owned by the railways, around 10 percent is within the state. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with them to undertake plantations here. Land which is to be used in 10 or 15 years will be made into nurseries. Others will become fruit orchards. However, for land where there is no plan chalked out for the next 50 years or so, we will be making a thick green cover of trees,” the minister said.
After development of nurseries in all villages, well developed saplings would be made available in coming three years for the tree plantation, added the Forest Minister Mungantiwar and said that this tree plantation will take place on the forest and non-forest areas and peoples’ participation is vital in this. Mungantiwar said the government wants to make the drive a people’s movement. “Tree plantation on such a large scale is a big challenge for the government and we are well-versed with the limited resources. Nevertheless, we are looking at 60-70% survival rate,” the minister said while pointing out the challenges. Mungantiwar said that the authorities have selected special verities of plants that would survive even in unfavorable conditions. “Most of the saplings will survive even in the regions receiving scanty rainfall,” he said.
The state has chosen a total of 65,674 sites to plant saplings across the state. It currently has 5,32,37,000 saplings ready across various nurseries. As per the latest registration, 3,11,66,057 trees have been registered with the forest department and a total of 3,05,50,604 pits are also ready. Along with the Forest Department, 20 other departments are participating in this campaign, the Forest Minister said.
In an attempt to attract the citizens, the forest department has implemented an innovative concept of ‘selfie with tree’. After clicking the selfie, people would have to email their selfis with the tree they planted on July 1, 2016 to email@example.com. or upload them at www.mahaforest.gov.in/selfiewithtree.php. The forest department has given priority not only to planting trees but also preserving and taking care of them. For preservation and maintenance of the 1.5 crore trees to be planted by the forest department on Friday, one family per 1,000 trees would be provided with employment under the Employment Guarantee Scheme. The remaining 50 lakh saplings would be planted by other government departments and with the help of the general public.
The Forest Department even plans to form a Harit Sena (Green Army) of 10 lakh students from 89 thousand schools across the state.