Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Friday inaugurated a project to plant 66 lakh trees across the State by planting a banyan sapling on the premises of the DGP’s office in Chennai.
The drive, which is in its third year, had targeted plantation of 65 and 64 lakh trees in 2013 and 2012 respectively in a bid to increase green cover outside forest regions across the State.
A statement from the government said this year’s tree plantation drive would be completed by December 2014. The project is set to cost `48.18 crore, and would entail planting of 2.6 lakh trees in each of 32 districts.
Banyan, mahuwa (iluppai), Indian laurel (punnai), purple camel’s foot (mantharai), Indian beech (pungai), bullet wood (magizham), portia (poovarasu), white cedar (vembu) and other drought-resistant varieties are to be planted. The project is to be implemented by the TNPCB using the Environmental Protection and Renewable Energy Development Fund.
Forest Minister MSM Anandan, Environment Minister Thoppu ND Venkatachalam, Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, Environment and Forests Secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkath, DGP K Ramanujam, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Vinod Kumar, MLAs and MPs were among those present.