Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday called on Union minister of environment and forests Jayanti Natarajan to seek help of Rs. 771.52 crore for 'Punjab Biodiversity & Natural Resources Conservation Project' through a suitable international funding Agency.
Disclosing this here on Thursday, a spokesperson of the CM's office said that Badal apprised Natarajan of the project, which would ensure protection, conservation and development of forests, wildlife and natural resources in a holistic manner, coupled with livelihoods generation for poverty alleviation in forest-fringe areas. He also informed that this project would be implemented throughout the state in 8 years in a phased manner.
Demanding the enhancement in the state annual plan of operations under PUNCAMPA, from Rs. 75 crore for the year 2012-13 to Rs. 100 crore for the next year, Badal said that the state government had already launched an ambitious "Greening Punjab Mission" under which it was envisaged to increase the forest and tree cover from the existing level of 7% to 15% of the geographical areain the next 8 years. He also said that the state government had planned to plant approximately 5 crore saplings annually for the next 7-8 years. He further said that a separate fund designated as "Greening Punjab Fund" had also been established for this purpose and all boards, corporations and other government agencies of the state had been authorised to contribute to this fund.
He demanded to release the balance amount of Rs. 56 crore under CAMPA project for 2012-13.
Demanding the inclusion of agro-forestry in state CAMPA and other centrally sponsored schemes like SFDA, Badal asked the Union minister to review the CAMPA and SFDA guidelines and also permit the inclusion of agro-forestry/farm forestry activities under their respective ambits for the benefit of forest deficient states like Punjab, which have a vast potential in the field of agro-forestry.
For setting up of hi-tech modern nurseries and a State Forest Research & Educational Institute, Badal further asked the ministry to provide financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 40 crore and Rs. 25 crore respectively in Punjab besides a special grant of Rs. 108 crore to eradicate the menace of weeds from the Kandi belt and Rs. 3.5 crore for establishing herbal gardens and nurseries in the state.