SHILLONG: In a set back to the multi-crore Sohra (Cherrapunjee) eco-restoration project, at least eight hundred and fifty saplings planted under the scheme were destroyed in a fire recently.
A case was also registered at Sohra police station against burning down of the saplings by miscreants.
President of Barefoot Environment Educators, Armeson K Budon, who is entrusted with the conservation of the environment at Sohra, has lodged a complaint with the police that unknown miscreants had burned down eight hundred and fifty saplings belonging to the Cherrapunjee Ecological Project at Lynteikiar, Mawsmai in East Khasi Hills. Under the scheme, the Government had created an army of BEEs (Barefoot Environment Educators) to mobilize, identify and apply traditional knowledge and skills for the development of their own communities and the conservation of the environment including flora and fauna.
Though the incident occurred on October 23, the matter was reported to the police only recently. According to police, a case was registered and investigation was on.
Wildfire and grazing of cattle in the project site is a cause of worry for the Department of Soil and Water Conservation which had initiated the eco-restoration project to improve the ecology and environment of Sohra and its adjoining areas which encompasses a total of 45 villages.
The total project worth Rs 87.16898 crore had also hit hurdles as the State Government had withdrawn a amount Rs 27 crore due to fund crunch.
The scheme which began in 2010-11 was proposed for implementation within six years.