Week-long Van Mahotsav celebrations kick off

Kolkata: The week-long celebration of Van Mahotsav was kicked off on Sunday, with the state level programme being held at Jharkhali in Sunderbans.

State Forest minister Bratya Basu, along with senior officials of the department attended the event that witnessed the presence of a good number of school students in the area, among whom saplings were distributed.

The state Forest department has handed over 1,000 saplings to each of the 294 MLAs across the state, for distribution and plantation in their respective areas.

Banners and hoardings have been set up in the city and at strategic locations in

the districts, to create awareness against destruction of greenery and encourage plantation.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has time and again reiterated the need for conservation of greenery, tweeted: "Go Green, Save Green, Let Consciousness emerge from green."

It has been learnt that Basu has urged the Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) across the districts to take a more proactive role in conservation of forest and wildlife. He handed over Rupasi Bangla Awards to the three best JFMCs.

Local party MP Pratima Mondal, who attended the programme, urged the Gram Panchayat to encourage schools in their respective jurisdictions to take steps for saving greenery and assured of funds from her MPLAD.

Basu also handed over saplings as token under the Sabujshree project, to five mothers who came with their newborn children.

The Sabujshree scheme launched in 2016 is a brainchild of the Chief Minister, in which saplings are given to the family of a newborn girl child during their release from the hospitals.

It may be mentioned that the state Forest department has already started digitisation of the forest boundaries across the state. "The land records are being tallied for preparation of the boundary. The effort is aimed at preventing depletion of forest land," a senior official of the Forest department said.

He added that the digitisation work in the South Bengal forests will be more challenging, with the nature of forest cover being entirely different from that of North Bengal.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has also distributed saplings as per demand of the respective councilors, for massive plantation in the city to mark Van Mahotsav. A total of 1,000 saplings have been given out, among which councillors of ward 124, 129 and 65 have taken 100 each.

A programme to commemorate the occasion will be held at Mohor Kunja in presence of Mayor Firhad Hakim on Monday.

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