Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmauri said that a special plantation drive would be launched to increase green cover in the State. This drive would initially start from Rampur and Chamba Forest Circles and later would be extended to the other parts of the State. Similarly, Forest Department would also work on war-footing to remove lantana grass and bushes and fodder species would be planted there to benefit the sheep breeders and farming community.

Forest Minister was talking to the senior officers of the 133, Infantry Battalion (TA) Ecological Dogra here, today. He said that Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had committed in the year 2006 that special emphasis would be given on increasing green cover of the State besides preservation and conservation of environment and ecology. He said that 133, Infantry Battalion (TA) Ecological Dogra had been doing a laudable work in afforestation, soil conservation and construction of check dams since then. The Forest Department would carry forward this work more vigorously on a larger scale in coordination with the Regiment and participation of common people.

He said that this regiment was already carrying plantation work on Sutlej basin in Tatapani area and now the work would be started in Rampur and Chamba Forest circles in first phase and later in the entire State. He said that plantation would be done as per the climatic and geographical conditions so as to ensure survival of the planted saplings.

Bharmauri said that lantana grass was rapidly spreading over the large part especially in the lower areas of the State which was extremely harmful for fertile land. A special drive would be started to remove lantana grass and useful bushes like garna, mendru, basoori, bana and kakoha etc. besides fodder species would be planted there. He had already sanctioned Rs. 25 lakh to the department to remove this grass from Nurpur Division initially and later on this work would be extended to other affected areas of the State.

Forest Minister assured that government would provide full assistance to the Regiment for carrying out its activities.

Col. G. Narsimhan, Commanding Officer and Maj. Jagdeesh, 133, Infantry Battalion (TA) Ecological Dogra, thanked the Minister for the support being provided by the State Government.

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