Millennium Post

State's green cover increased to 21.30%, says Forest Min

States green cover increased to 21.30%, says Forest Min

Kolkata: Thanks to the series of government schemes implemented for making the state greener in the past 10 years, the tree and forest cover in Bengal has witnessed a significant increase during the Mamata Banerjee-led government's rule.

The state Forest minister, Rajib Banerjee on Thursday said the green cover in Bengal has reached 21.30 per cent of the total geographical land. Now, 18, 907 km area is under forest and tree cover.

In 2011, the green cover was 17.27 per cent. By December, the minister said, 5 crore mangrove saplings will be planted in Sunderbans—which was devastated by the super cyclone Amphan. "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had instructed the Forest department to increase the tree cover in the Sunderbans. It was taken up and the Forest department is on the threshold of planting 5 crore mangrove saplings within December," he added.

In the past 10 years, the state government has set up two wildlife sanctuaries, namely, Pakhibitan in Gajoldoba in north Bengal and another at the Western part of Sunderbans in addition to the existing ones. Home to 287 rhinoceros, Bengal is only second to Assam when it comes to the animal's population. The tiger population has reached 96 while that of the elephants is now 68. A new Rhino sanctuary has been set up at Patlakhawa in Cooch Behar in addition to Jaldapara and Gorumara. Bengal is the first state in the country to have successfully carried out vulture breeding. Six vultures have already been released and one of them was traced in Pakistan. Around 80 are being reared now and will be released in batches. Teams have been set up to address man animal conflict. So far, 434 next of kin of those killed by elephants have received

jobs. The Forest department has so far handed over cheques worth Rs 345 crore to the joint forest management committees.

The minister said Bengal safari has attracted tourists from both the country and abroad and the forest tourism is progressing in the state.

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