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Big money for green hills - Centre gives Rs 95cr for afforestation of 20000 hectares

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By SANTOSH K. KIRO
  • Published 25.05.10
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Ranchi, May 24: The hills of Jharkhand will soon be green again.

Come monsoon, the forest department will embark upon the mammoth task of greening the hills of the state and also forests where the tree cover is thin.

Hills and forests apart, the forest department will also take up the task of planting trees along roads. Swathes of land given to the department by various government and non-government agencies in lieu of forest department-owned land transferred to these agencies at various points of time over the years would also be brought under the tree planting drive.

The Compensatory Afforestation Management Plan Authority (Campa) of the Centre has allotted Rs 95 crore for afforestation this financial year. “We have identified 20,000 hectare land where afforestation work would be carried out once the rains begin,” said S.N. Trivedi, additional principal chief conservator of forests.

A couple of days ago, chief secretary Ashok Kumar Singh held a meeting with top officials of the state forest department including principal chief conservator of forest A.K. Singh and others, to review the various works undertaken by the department. It was during this meeting that the chief secretary directed the forest officials to prepare a detailed plan for afforestation using the Rs 95 crore Campa funds.

Campa was set up by the Centre in 2002. Here, various agencies, including industrial and mining houses, deposit money in exchange of trees felled by them and forest land they acquire from various states.

Over the last eight years, Jharkhand has acquired Rs 1,140 crore from Campa, of which Rs 95 crore has been allotted for afforestation this year.

The Jharkhand state Campa was formed in October last year, which functions under the forest department. The state entity will be responsible for utilising the Centre’s Campa fund for afforestation. “Those hill tops which have no forest cover now have been earmarked this year for afforestation,” said Trivedi. He said there are hundreds of such hills in all the districts across the state.

The chief secretary is learnt to have directed the forest department to make plans to preserve streams and other sources of water in the forests to ensure all-round development of forests in Jharkhand.