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Sikkim to be converted into a garden state in 3 years

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Gangtok, Feb 28: Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has launched the Green Mission programme to promote tourism as a sustainable eco-friendly activity in the state.

Addressing a launch meeting yesterday (Feb 27, 2006), Mr Chamling said the three-year programme would further reinforce Sikkim's widespread recognition of being a green state.

"Under this programme a comprehensive afforestation drive would be undertaken in three-phases to plant ornamental and flower trees on road sides, Government land, vacant land, in the campuses of the religious and educational institutions, rivers and hills to convert the state into a garden state," he said.

As per the plan while 20 per cent of the plantations would be made in the first phase in the first year 2006-07, 50 per cent plantations would be made in the second phase in 2007-2008 and the rest 30 per cent in the last phase in the subsequent year.

The officials of all the departments and all the 11,000 workers engaged under muster roll in various departments would be engaged to implement the programme.

The Forest department would act as the nodal agency.

Mr Chamling appealed to all sections of people of the state to work with a missionary zeal to make this movement a success.

The programme besides making the state a hot destination for tourists would promote eco-tourism. It would also contribute to conserve the Himalayan eco-system, check soil erosion, check pollution and attract birds.

He said the saplings for the plantations had been selected depending upon their suitability to different altitude and climatic conditions and would come from Government and private nurseries and some would be procured from outside the state.

The Government had constituted two committees, one at the state level and one at the constituency level, for the successful implementation of the programme.

The state-level committee with the Chief Minister as the Chairman and the Minister for Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management as the Vice-Chairman and the Secretary, Forest Department, as the Member Secretary would coordinate, oversee and monitor the programme at the state level.

The constituency level committee with the local MLA as the Chairman and the District Collector as the Member Secretary would be responsible for implementing the programme in the field.

He announced a cash prize of Rs 50 lakh, Rs 30 lakh and Rs 20 Lakh for the best three constituencies for their performances under the programme.

All the members of the Cabinet, top officials of the state, including departmental heads, attended the meeting.


UNI

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