Tribune News Service
Shimla, February 19
Under the state government’s ‘Smriti Van Yojana’, more than 5.5 crore saplings were planted on 48,000 hectares while medicinal plants were also planted under various schemes in the past four years, a government spokesperson said today. The scheme aims to encourage people to plant saplings provided by the Forest Department on occasions like birthdays and anniversaries to remember their beloved.
The main focus was on wide leafs, wild fruit trees and medicinal species so that rural people could get employment in the field of wild fruits and herb production, the spokesperson said.
People’s participation was being encouraged in curbing forest fires while they were asked to collect pine leaves, which were the major cause of fire incidents, and further sell them to various industrial units. These leaves were used in many products and purposes by industries, he said.
The state government is executing an awareness campaign among 693 committees while 103 watch towers have been established in the state to keep a vigil on forest fires. The people doing exceptional work will be honoured with a cash prize Rs 10,000 per committee.
Through this scheme, local watchers have been deployed on a daily-wage basis to report fire incidents. As many as 86 water storage tanks have been constructed to be used during fire incidents besides identification of fire prone areas and formation of fire-control teams.
The government is also considering to honour and promote forest guards who have reported no incident of fire in their beats.
The state government has spent Rs 56.84 crore to make 41,060 hectares lantana free during the past four years. It has generated fuel, fodder species and contributed in water conservation activities for the benefit of local people and nomads.
Because of the government’s efforts, an increase of 13 sq km had been recorded in efficient conservation and management of forests in Himachal Pradesh as per the India State of Forest Report-2015 released by the Indian Forest Survey Institute, the spokesperson added.
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