Plantation drive: Maha govt puts efforts to save saplings

Mumbai, July 13: After having achieved record breaking success in plantation of 2.8 crore saplings on July 1 all over Maharashtra, the government is now making efforts to ensure that maximum numbers of them survive.

Speaking to reporters at his Mantralaya office, Forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said government is working on setting up a call-centre with a toll-free number where people can lodge complaints of illegal tree cutting, anti-poaching and even negligence on the part of forest officials.


"The government also intends to give substantial monetary reward to those alerting about illegal tree cutting and anti-poaching," he added.

Private institutions, voluntary agencies, educational institutes, NGOs, various government departments also took part actively in the massive plantation drive, which was brainchild of the forest minister, aimed at increasing the forest cover in the state.

"At present rain god is taking care of providing water to the saplings. However, the challenge will come after the monsoons are over in September-October. Also, government departments will take care of the tree saplings planted by them," he said.

Besides, this call-centre will also help in saving trees planted by private organisations and individuals, he said, adding that those intending to register themselves for planting tree saplings will be guided on how to plant them and its care.

Giving details, he said "The toll-free number will function at various level.One can enrol by calling a toll-free number whether they are institution, school, college or private individual.

Complaints will be registered regarding wood theft after illegal cutting, anti-poaching in forest area or if people feel that a forest officer is lethargic."

Mungantiwar said his department has scheduled a meeting in Pune to discuss and plan how to go in detail and whether there is a need to amend the existing Act.

He also said that barring the recent deaths of a couple of tigers and cubs due to natural causes, no cases of poaching of tigers have been reported in the state so far.

The state is planning to hold a grand event in Nagpur on July 29 where winners of "Selfie with Trees" competition, held on July 1, will be announced. Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar is expected to attend the event, he added.


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