(MENAFN- IANS) Guwahati, June 8 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday that the state government has set a target to plant one crore saplings on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on October 2 this year.
Urging people to participate in the sapling planting drive in large numbers, the Chief Minister announced a cash prize for the initiative.
"Each person planting a saplig will get Rs 100 as a token of gratitude. After three years, if the plant survives, the person will get another Rs 200," the Chief Minister said.
According to Sarma, to create a forest-centric parallel economy, the state government has taken steps to encourage plantation of commercial timber like sal, teak etc.
Speaking at an event in Kamrup district, the Chief Minister said that the state government is working to increase the total forest cover in Assam from the existing 36 per cent to 38 per cent.
"Not just in summers, but concerted efforts will be made through out the year to plant more saplings, save trees and protect the forests from being encroached upon," Sarma said.
He noted that around 20 per cent of the forest land in Assam is under encroachment and an adverse effect of it is being felt by the people of the state.
Pointing out the steps taken for the preservation of forest land in the state, Sarma said that in the last two years, eviction drives have been launched in Lumding reserve forest, Pabo reserve forest, Burhachapori wildlife sanctuary, Orang national park, leading to freeing of 61,375 bighas of land.
"People are destroying the hills to construct houses. At the same time, with increase in the use of fossil fuel, global warming has become an alarming issue. I appeal to the people at large to contribute to cutting down on carbon emissions to save the balance of Mother Earth," the Chief Minister said.
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