Even as lakhs of trees are being chopped for various development works,a recent report of Forest Survey of India (FSI) has presented a pleasant surprise for Punjab. As per the report,the agrarian state has registered an increase of 100 square kilometres of in 2010-11.
The figure is highest in the country. Out of the eight states that registered an increase,Jharkhand is placed second (60 sqkm). Incidentally,Haryana could increase its forest cover by only 9 sqkm,while the hill state Himachal Pradesh couldnt even achieve 5 sqkm target,says the FSI report.
The forest officials credit the increase in forest cover to the tree-plantation drive across the state. As per the FSI report,Punjab now has 1,700 sqkm area under forest.
The report further states that the increase was more prominent in dense forest areas in select select pockets of Punjab. The increase has been reported mostly areas like Gurdaspur and Ropar,which already have a large area under forest.
The officer,however,say that the figure could have been much higher but for the villagers who mostly uproot the saplings alleging that it would affect their crop.
Ludhiana district forest officer (DFO),Naresh Mahajan,confirming that the FSI has circulated a report,said that the department is upbeat after getting the positive feedback.
Forest Minister,Surjit Kumar Jayani,meanwhile,has asked the officers to not onluy plant saplings,but also to take care of the same till they are mature.
Mahajan said that the Mattewara area too has registered an increase in forest cover. However,he said that the department was now planting more acacia saplings,instead of the eucalyptus,which was earlier grown in the area but were now dying en mass owing to shortage of water.