Army veterans launch ecological operation in Kullu

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Kullu, July 27 (ANI): A group of ex-Army men have launched an operation to re-green the hills and are converting a large area of barren land along the Sutlej River in Kullu district into a dense forest.

The project will be executed in close coordination with and under the technical guidance of the state Forest Department and Ecological Task force.

"ETF's (Ecological Task Force) work is to plant saplings for environment conservation along with the forest department," said Pawnesh Kumar, Conservator in the state Forest Department.

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) would provide the funds to the team for the task.

The task force not only does afforestation, but also educates villagers about the importance of rainwater harvesting.

" The eco task forces are primarily based on the ex-servicemen of that particular state.

The purpose is twofold - One is to give resettlement to the retired personnel because they retire at a young age of 44, 45, and 43, and to give them a chance for a second vocation; and secondly to fill the void which has been created in the forest," said Colonel D. S. Chauhan, the Commander of the Ecological Task Force.

Going by the success achieved by the Ecological Task Force, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has approved the raising of two more companies of the Ecological Task Force.

Himachal Pradesh is a storehouse of biodiversity and is most vulnerable to climate change.

According to a report published by the Forest Survey of India in 2005, the hill state has 14,752 sq km of forest area, of which 1,097 sq km is very densely forested. By Prem Thakur (ANI)

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