Home India News Himachal ready for another massive plantation drive

Himachal ready for another massive plantation drive


Shimla : Buoyed by the successful massive plantation drive last year, Himachal Pradesh is now ready for another community-driven plantation scheme that will not only boost its depleting green cover but also see the hill state become rich in herbal plants.

People across the state planted more than 1.5 million saplings on a single day Aug 3 last year under the programme called “Jan Jan Sanjivani”. This year the government plans to plant over 10 million saplings of medicinal species by involving the people in two plantation schemes – “Sanjha Van, Sanjeevni Van” and “Apna Van, Apna Dhan”.

“Our aim this time is not only to involve more and more people in plantation drives but also to ensure the survival rate of the saplings. The aim of the drives is to make the hill state herbal,” state Forest Minister J.P. Nadda told IANS Monday.

“We have launched two community-driven schemes. Under the “Sanjha Van, Sanjeevni Van” scheme, locals will be involved in planting saplings in forest areas, while under the second programme “Apna Van, Apna Dhan”, plantation will be done only on private-owned barren land,” he said.

Saplings of more than 50 indigenous species like neem, banyan, jamun and peepal would be planted during the special drives around the year in all 12 districts of the state.

According to Nadda, over 1 crore (10 million) herbal saplings would be distributed among the locals through government-monitored 525 joint forest management committees (JFMCs).

“The JFMCs will be responsible for planting and taking care of the saplings in forest land. However, on private lands, the land owners are responsible for planting and nurturing the saplings that will be provided free of cost by the forest department,” the minister added.

These schemes would ensure 100 percent participation of the locals in raising new herbal forests, he said. “We intend to re-green 2,500 hectares of forest land this year.”

Additional Chief Secretary Avay Shukla, who is associated with the programme, said the aim of such programmes was to motivate the common man to know the importance of commercially valuable species. He said peepal and banyan trees, whose numbers have declined massively over the recent years, would be planted in 3,057 villages under the plantation drive.

The state already has a quarter of its geographical area under forest cover.

The hill state is most vulnerable to climate change as the Himalayan glaciers have been retreating due to global warming.

As per the forests department, Himachal Pradesh has 37,033 sq km forest area out of which 1,896 sq km is reserve forest.

The lush green valleys and snow-capped mountains of the state are home to 36 percent of the country’s species of birds. Of the 1,228 species that have been reported in India, 447 have been recorded in this state alone.

Similarly, 77 species of mammals have been recorded by the Himachal State Council for Science, Technology and Environment in its biodiversity report.