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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Punjab joins hands with FRI for green mission

Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has embarked on a green mission to double the forest cover to 15% from 7%

Dehradun Oct 14, 2012 - Punjab may be famous for its rich agriculture production in India. But very little is known about its miniscule forest cover of 7% as against 65% green cover of states like Uttarakhand.

In what is being billed as the first major afforestation initiative, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has embarked on a green mission to double the forest cover to 15% from 7%. Badal, who became the chief minister for the record fifth time last year, today formally inaugurated the Rs 1,900 crore “green Punjab mission” in the hallowed precincts of the prestigious Forest Research Institute (FRI) here. Under the project, the state government signed an MoU with the FRI here to achieve the goal 5-8 years time with the involvement of farmers and the state forest department.

For this purpose, the state government has also set up a green fund and has already raised Rs 22 crore, Badal said. From seed to trees, the MoU envisages the FRI to tackle all the forest-related problems and provide its technical expertise to farmers in the maintenance of the green cover. “FRI will take only plant a sapling but take care of for 3 to 5 years till it properly grows,” said Badal after the signing of the MoU.

Plantations of industrial timber and ornamental tree species will be carried out in this programme, Badal said. To ensure the proper price for the timber grown by farmers, timber market will be strengthened and upgraded throughout the state.

To cater the research needs of the state, a research institute will be established in Punjab with the help of FRI. “Through this green mission, the Punjab government has set an example which will be followed by other states in future,” said V K Bahuguna, Director General Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education which controls the FRI.

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