Assam: Reversing the alarming rates of deforestation and land degradation in BTAD areas, the Governor’s decision to plant 40 lakh saplings to increase green coverage and the BTAD administration’s tirade against land degradation, bore fruits as more than 30 lakh saplings have already been planted in BTAD areas.
Continuing the plantation drive, Assam Governor Prof.Jagdish Mukhi today launched a drive in the deforested areas at Jharbari range under Haltugaon division and Central Range under Kochugaon division. As a part of the drive, 8 lakh 80 thousand seedlings will be planted in Haltugaon, Kochugaon, Parbatjhora, and Chirang Divisions and the plantation will be completed within the month of August.
It may be noted that immediately after taking over the administration of the BTC upon expiry of its term on April 27, Assam Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi expressing his aghast against dwindling bio-diversity in the BTAD areas launched ‘Hariyali’ on the occasion of the World Environment Day on June 5. Consequent upon the project, as many as 31,18,348 saplings were planted in four districts namely Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
Under CAMPA plantation project in the BTAD, 1,921,72 hectares of the land in 45 blocks were brought under plantation drives to increase green coverage and aid to the rich bio-diversity of the territory. An institutional mechanism was also created for monitoring and evaluation of seedlings distributed and planted so far.
Moreover, since illegal timber trade and cutting of trees were taking a toll on the biodiversity, the administration under the Governor making its intent ubiquitous, acted against illegal timber felling, illegal sand mining, and wildlife poaching. As a result, since 27th April so far 41 persons were arrested, 99 vehicles were seized and 25 sawmills were seized.
Further, as a part of the sequel of initiatives to enrich biodiversity and protect the sprawling wildlife of BTAD, a huge cache of ammunition namely 150 number of .303 rifles were provided to the forest department to empower the law enforcing agencies to act against the poachers and their group.
Moreover, for strengthening their work and for the surveillance of forest areas, quotations were sought for purchasing 8 four-wheeled vehicles and 40 motorcycles. Besides, 31 numbers of new forest protection camps are being created for different forest divisions. To give a new lease of life to the forest department and change its stereotyped functioning, a few DFOs and rangers were transferred to a new place of postings.
Steps have also been taken for implementation of the online revenue collection system. Parbatjhora division has already implemented the system and other divisions have been asked to implement it in phases.
He also said, “From the sequence of events and their manifestation in our surroundings, it may be said that deforestation and forest degradation continued to play havoc in the BTAD. However, with continued support of the BTC administration and the people of BTAD, the trend has been reversed which will have its positive impact on biodiversity in the near future and BTAD can reclaim its pristine position as a biodiversity hot spot of the region”.