Maharashtra Government has decided to plant trees on a large scale as a part of efforts to fight the global warming and climate change, and set itself a target of planting 50 crore saplings in the next three years. A circular issued by the Finance Department on Saturday said 50 crore trees are to be planted in the next three years (2017-19) and appealed the other departments to come together and ensure 80-90 per cent survival rate of saplings.
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The state Forest Department undertook a large-scale drive last year which resulted in plantation of 2.82 crore saplings in and around schools, colleges, hospitals, gardens and on government and private lands. Limca Book of World Records had also taken note of the effort.
The circular stated that the initiative should continue till 2019 without a break. Last year, about 16 departments participated in the plantation drive and the government now expects 33 more departments including government boards, undertakings, corporations and gram panchayats to participate.
Every department should meet expenditure for the drive from own sanctioned funds or seek CSR funds, the circular said. “In case of financial crunch, Forest Department may distribute saplings free,” it said.
“Rains across various regions arrive after June 15, so all the departments and gram panchayats should start their plantation programmes between June 15 to July 7 to meet the target of 50 crore,” said V Giriraj, principal secretary of Finance Department.
A senior official from the department said Maharashtra has around 20 per cent land under forest cover, which the government was aiming to increase to 33 per cent in the next three years.