With the rain the forest department has swung into action as both soil and air have ideal moisture for healthy plantation. The department is ready with the blueprint for plantation of 11. 5 lakh saplings, double than the last year's achieved target of 5.83 lakh. With less than a month in hand and only 77 field staff, the department is on its toes.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Patiala, Satender Kumar Sagar said with the onset of pre-monsoons period, the conditions have become favourable for plantation. Previously, when mercury soared up to 45 degree Celsius, transpiration in plants had also increased hence they needed more water and care. With a heavy downpour, water content and moisture have increased in the soil and this would almost save 60-70% of diesel and water tankers' consumption.
Sagar added that the department in one year had prepared 35 lakh saplings at its 17 nurseries.
“The plantation will be done in six forest ranges and along the roads under the Green Punjab scheme where 165 hectares of area will be covered, under National Association for Women's Action in Development (NAWAD) 700 hectares, under Punjab Forestry Watershed Development Scheme 175 hectares and 105 hectares under compensatory afforestation scheme,” he added.
The DFO said the department had also planted 40,000 certified poplar cuttings, which would benefit farmers in the following year.
He added that the department had dug pits by March 31 and now only saplings had to be planted.
Under the drive, trees like Sheesham, Burma Dhak, Arjun, Neem, Jamun and Peepal would be planted.