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Maha to come up with forest protection plan

Maharashtra government on Friday said that a plan for forest protection would be rolled out soon, and the Samajik Vanikaran’ (social forestation) department would be merged with the forest department.

The government was preparing a foolproof plan to protect forest assets, Forest and Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar stated in the state Legislative Council here.

He said this in reply to a question by Manikrao Thakre, Bhai Jagtap, and Sanjay Dutt of Congress regarding the illegal tree-cutting and deforestation.

Mungantiwar said that forest cover in the state had dwindled to 19.94 per cent from the earlier 33 per cent.

He also said that forest department did not have enough staff, though it was doing its best to protect the jungles.  “We have only one guard for 1,000 hectors of forest, with very little arms and infrastructure. But now we have allocated three SRP platoons for the security of forests,” he added.

The minister said that the government had decided to merge the Samajik Vanikaran department with the forest department, and a five-year forest policy would be framed.
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