Chandigarh: Punjab would launch a massive afforestation plan by planting 53 lakh saplings on 692.645 hectares at the cost of Rs 222.15 crore in the state. This will help further greening of the highways with tall plants, habitat improvement in Bir Moti Bagh and development of Siswan community reserve during the current fiscal.

This will be done under the annual plan operation (APO) for 2021-22 of the Punjab State Compensatory Afforestation Monitoring and Planning Authority (CAMPA) of the Forests and Wildlife Preservation department approved at the maiden meeting of the steering committee, chaired by the Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, here on Tuesday. The approved plan will be placed before the Union Government for funds allocation.

Acting on the directives of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the committee approved purchase of the wood saving devices for forest fringe villages of kandi areas at the cost of Rs 408 lakh. Besides, a fully automated cattle pound would be constructed in Patiala district at the cost of Rs 210 lakh along with a demonstration plot of bamboo for farmers at an outlay of Rs 392.95 lakh would also be made.

Sharing details of the plan, the Chief Secretary said an afforestation drive would be initiated to mitigate the impact of air pollution in 9 polluted NACs like Dera Baba Nanak, Mandi Gobindgarh, and Ludhiana at an outlay of Rs 307 lakh. Besides, afforestation would be undertaken on the area of 5,401 hectares under the NPV component at the cost of Rs 9,970.25 lakh.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.