Thursday, June 7, 2012


Chandigarh, June 6 (YP Bureau)
Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal would launch the 'Green Punjab' mission from Hoshiarpur and Fazilka on July 1 to generate awareness amongst the masses about the clean and pollution free environment by initiating massive plantation drive across the state.  

This decision was taken by Mr. Badal in a meeting with the senior officers of the Forests & Wildlife Preservation department here at CMO this morning.

Giving a power point presentation on the scenario of forest and wildlife in Punjab, Principal Chief Conservator of the Forests apprised the Chief Minister that green Punjab mission has become all the more important in the present context with constant increase in levels of air pollution caused due to heavy vehicular and industrial influx besides alarming proportions of water pollution due to polluted river and ground water.  

Even the soil pollution due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, coupled with water logging and rise of salinity in Punjab had further aggravated the environmental problems in the state.   He said that trees and forest could play a crucial role in regulating our climate besides mitigating environmental pollution and degrading.  

According to estimates of forest cover, Punjab had area under forest as percentage of total land area 5.04% as compared to country's 23.41% and world 31%.  Likewise, Punjab has per capita FTC 2.9% of the world and 16% of the India.  Punjab had 4336 hectares of reserve forests and 1,13,738 protected forests besides 20,108 hectares of un-classed forests.  Punjab was the only state whose area under forest cover had increased by 6.01%.  

Taking part in the deliberations, the Chief Minister asked the state Forests and Wildlife Preservation department to launch an extensive plantation drive across the state to increase forest and tree cover from existing 7% to 15% over a period of 15 years on all available institutional lands, panchayat lands, mandis, police lines, jails, paramilitary areas, hospitals, educational institutions, cremation grounds, focal points, PSEB colonies, urban and peri-urban areas and farm forestry.  
 He also emphasized the need to improve productivity and stocking of existing forest areas besides imparting professional training to the forest guards to ensure that trees grow straight.  He also underscored the need for massive plantation across the major roads in the state over an identified area of 300 acres besides introduction of tree spade technology for transplanting of fully grown trees.  

The Chief Minister further asked the rural development & Panchayats department to motivate the village panchayats for plantation of trees over 150,000 acres of panchayat land as the Punjab Vidhan Sabha had already passed resolution to plant trees on 20% of panchayat lands.  He sought cooperation and support from the farmers for the implementations of the state government's initiatives for greening Punjab.  Mr. Badal also asked the Forest department to work out modalities for generation of additional resources to make the tree plantation drive financially sustainable.  

Meanwhile, the Forest Minister Mr. Surjit Kumar Jayani said the state forests department had already prepared a 15 years perspective plan with a mission to enhance the forest area under greening Punjab campaign.  The jurisdiction of forest beats was being revised to cover forest as well as non forest areas.  The new beat boundaries would now be village wise and all villages in the state would be covered by the forest beats.  He said that the newly recruited 180 forest guards were being properly trained to handle the assignment of promoting tree plantation in villages.  

Prominent amongst others who were present in the meeting included Financial Commissioner Forests Mr. DS Bains, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. SK Sandhu, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. KJS Cheema besides Principal Chief Conservator of the Forests Mr. HS Gujral, Chief Conservator Forests (Forest Conservation Act) Mr. Kuldip Kumar, MD Punjab State Forest Corporation Mr. Kuldip Singh and State Chief Wildlife Warden Mr. Dharinder Singh.

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