Van Mahotsav: Maharashtra forest department successfully plants 4-crore saplings across state
With a day still left to go for the end of Van Mahotsav, Maharashtra has completed its target of planting 4 crore saplings across the state.
Up till 2pm on Thursday, 4.15 crore saplings – 3.02 crore in forest areas and 1.12 crore in non-forest areas - were planted across the state with 11,64,234 participants. The maximum plantations were done at Chandrapur, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Palghar, Pune and Yavatmal. Mumbai city and suburban areas recorded 3,152 and 7,192 saplings planted till Thursday.
Van Mahotsav or Forest day is an annual tree-planting festival, observed from July 1 to 7 across India by planting new saplings. Started in 1950 by the Ministry of Agriculture, millions of saplings are planted during the week to increase green cover.
By July 7, 24.62 lakh hectare area in the state will be covered with fresh plantations. “The green cover has already witnessed a substantial increase with efforts from the citizens. A total of 1.66 crore saplings have been kept ready as inventory at various nurseries in Maharashtra and our target 50 lakh saplings by 2019 is gaining momentum,” said Sudhir Mungantiwar, forest minister.
HT had reported last week that after the registration data was frozen, the total number of saplings to be planted during Van Mahotsav stood at 5.54 crore – 3.4 crore in forest areas and over 2 crore in non-forest areas - and 5.27 crore pits had been dug. A total of 185 plant species have been listed for the entire plantation drive.
According to the forest department, the state has 20% of the total land available under forest cover. The forest department has set a target to develop 33% of the total land area under social forestry program prescribed by Central Forest Department, which is expected to be done by end 2019.
Read: Greener future: Maharashtra government to plant 50 lakh mangrove saplings along coastline by 2019
“Growing public interface while sharing the real time plantation information, along with number of persons participating in the state-wide drive, adds credence to the exercise,” said P Srivastava, additional principal chief conservator of forest, state forest department, IT division. “Digital forest governance strives for increased transparency, credibility and accountability in the days to come.”
Last year, the forest department planted 2.83 crore saplings that was recognised by the Limca book of world records. The survival rate was 75 per cent.