1 mn saplings to be planted on World Environment Day

‘Waterman’ of India, CM to be present at event

SHILLONG: One million saplings will be planted in Meghalaya on World Environment Day on June 5.
The work in this regard is in progress as the Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma, has taken a keen initiative.
“The wish of the chief minister is that every citizen of the state should nurture one tree and there is nothing like taking responsibility to plant trees”, said Commissioner and Secretary, Agriculture, Sampath Kumar.
The chief minister will plant a tree on the occasion but the venue will be decided later.
Famed water conservationist and environmentalist from Rajasthan, Rajendra Singh, known as waterman of India, will be present on the occasion.
The saplings will be planted on a single day in the areas near 300 spring sheds which are being rejuvenated.
The project of rejuvenation of 300 springs undertaken by the soil and water conservation department was for three years and with 2020 being the completion date of the project, the government took the initiative to combine it with tree plantation.
“The digging of pits started on May 10 and around 2 lakh pits have already been dug for the purpose and more will be ready before June 5”, Sampath Kumar said.
Additional Chief Secretary in-charge of Agriculture K N Kumar said the tree plantation drive was developed through the Basin Development programme of the government.
Under National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change project, Meghalaya was awarded a Rs 10 crore grant and planting of saplings is one of the initiatives under the project. The saplings are from the community nurseries.
To a query, the official said Meghalaya’s effort to plant one million saplings may not be the first in the entire country. This may be first in the North East, he added. Earlier, five years ago in July 2014, former chief minister Mukul Sangma took the initiative to plant 7,111,06 saplings in East Khasi Hills district.
Though the saplings were planted, there was no follow up action and hence the objective failed to be achieved.
Pointed out the failed attempt, Sampath Kumar said communities will be involved to ensure that the saplings grow and the purpose is served.
He said experts from People’s Science Institute of Dehradun had trained several villagers to look after the saplings and they will act as para-hydrologists.

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