In a bid to make Punjab more green, the state forest department Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to initiate a widespread tree plantation drive.
"During our tenure of last two-and-a-half year in Punjab, we have increased the area under tree cover to around six per cent from a meagre three-and-a-half per cent. Now our target is to increase it to up to 15 per cent by 2017," state Forest and Wildlife Minister Tikshan Sud told reporters here Monday.
"Our association with SGPC will give impetus to our ongoing drive. Our department would provide lakhs of saplings to them at very subsidised price. We have set a target to plant nearly 1.5 crore (15 million) plants in Punjab in the next one year," he said.
SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh said: "Our budget is of around Rs.1 crore (Rs.10 million) that we will spent on this plantation drive in next one year and we will increase this budget every year. Trees will be planted all across the state and they will certainly help to reduce the impact of increasing greenhouse gases on this planet."
Sud said that forest department of Punjab had planted around 1.4 crore (14 million) plants in the state in the last two years.
The SGPC, the mini-parliament of the Sikh religion, manages Sikh shrines of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh including the Harmandar Sahib (popularly known as Golden Temple) at Amritsar.