HM launches Sohra Afforestation Campaign 

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HT Bureau 

SHILLONG, July 25: Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday launched the Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign at Sohra (Cherrapunji) in East Khasi Hills district.

Shah gave the slogan “Evergreen Northeast”, underlining the importance of afforestation and tree plantation.

The home minister said that earlier Cherrapunji used to have rains throughout the year, but due to indiscriminate harvesting in the name of development, the situation has changed.

He said that an ambitious project to make Cherrapunji green again started on Sunday.

Shah informed that the entire area of Cherrapunji is going to be adopted by Assam Rifles for the purpose of plantation. He said that trees are cut for fuel and other uses, so 80% of the total land will be planted with traditional and long lifespan trees, the remaining 20% will be used for animal feed, ornamental plants and nursery which will meet all the requirements and help reduce the felling of long lifespan trees.

“With this technique, multi-level farming is done, and the forest grows 30 times faster and after 3 years it becomes free of maintenance,” Shah said, adding that ecotourism will be greatly benefited by this, besides tourism of Meghalaya will also get a boost.

Praising Assam Rifles and other security forces, Shah said since the last two years the para-military forces had been shouldering the responsibility of improving the environment and so far have planted 1.48 crore trees.

He said that this year also about one crore saplings will be planted in different areas by making a strategy and in the next three years a target has been set to plant 1 million trees in 1,000 hectares.

The Union minister said that today the whole world is fighting against global warming and climate change. “The battle we are going to fight cannot be successful without the cooperation of the general public at the district panchayat and taluka panchayat levels,” he said.

He called upon all panchayats to cooperate in tree plantation programmes being carried out by the paramilitary forces at various places, join hands with them and help the paramilitary forces in the plantation of 10 crore saplings and nurturing them.

More than 16 lakh and 31 thousand saplings are being planted under this campaign.

The Sohra Afforestation Project includes – Block plantations proposed to be carried in 3,000 Ha; Silvi/ Aromatic/ Pastoral Development in 3,000 Ha; Fuelwood plantations proposed to be carried in 2,000 Ha; 1,000 Ha. of Broom grass plantations, Dense plantation using Miyawaki method to be carried out in over 200 Ha.; Planting 50,000 ornamental trees for enhancing tourism potential; Establishment of 14 nurseries; Forest fire control measures; Capacity building of the local communities in Natural Resource Management.

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