VIJAYAWADA: AP government decided to increase the state's green cover to 50 per cent by 2029 and is initiating measures in a mission mode, dubbing it as Mission Haritha Andhra Pradesh.
Disclosing the mission to mediapersons here on Wednesday, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that under the mission Vanam-Manam programme is being taken up with an objective to have 4 lakh acres plantation every year. “As a start, on July 29, one crore saplings will be planted across the state involving everyone in the state. It is mandatory that everyone including politicians, officials, NGOs, schools, colleges, industries and common man plants a tree on that day,” he said.
Elaborating further, Naidu said that at present the state has only 23 per cent forest green cover and 3 per cent non-forest green cover, that is a total 26 per cent green cover, which he want double over the next 13 years.
The Chief Minister said that all the saplings planted will be geo tagged and geo fenced. "I will review the status of planted saplings every quarter and conduct aerial survey with drones every six months. To ensure everything goes in systematic manner, a senior IFS officer is being made in charge at state level, district collectors and district in charge ministers are being given the task to ensure the success of ‘Vanam-Manam’ programme on July 29. We will set up a tree bank for supplying saplings," he added.
In urban areas, avenue plantation and block planting will be taken up in a big manner. People will also be given an opportunity to name the tree guards (`1,000 to `2,000 per tree guard) for the sapling they have planted in front of their houses. Stressing on the need to do away with cutting down of trees for road widening and other development works, the CM said the Chinese technology of uprooting and replanting of trees must be brought in use.
There will be 15 Nagara Vanams in the state and focus will be on development of tiger reserves, bird sanctuaries and other protected wildlife areas, the Chief Minister said. In forest area, where the forest cover had dwindled, new saplings will be planted and the task is being entrusted to VSS and SHGs, by giving them 100 days employment under NREGS. Priority will be given to planting medicinal plants. "We will give wide publicity to Mission Haritha Andhra Pradesh on social media as well," he said.
Measures to protect sanders
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said his government is duty bound to protect red sanders, which is unique to the state and will act tough against anyone if found involved in smuggling of the precious timber. "We are making the existing forest Acts more tough to deal with red sanders smugglers," he said and added that the state government is contemplating forming a notified area for 15 lakh acres in the state, where red sanders is grown.