Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday issued a series of directives to give a push to his government’s afforestation and greening efforts, and asked the Forest Department to press the Centre for immediate release of the state’s share of Rs 1100 crore under the Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).The Chief Minister was chairing the first meeting of the Governing Body of Punjab CAMPA.To accomplish the state’s greening mission under CAMPA, besides synergizing the efforts to make Punjab clean, green and pollution-free, Captain Amarinder directed the Additional Chief Secretary Forest to align the five-year prospective plan (2019-24) of Punjab CAMPA with the sustainable Development Goals (2019-23) of the Forest Department. This, he said, would ensure the holistic development of the state’s forest environment.On the occasion, the Chief Minister launched the i-haryali mobile app for the urban areas, besides launching a book on the importance of planting medicinal plants especially in schools and for cultivation by the farmers.In response to a suggestion by Principal Secretary Rural Development and Panchayats on initiating a plantation drive under CAMPA in convergence with MGNREGA, the Chief Minister said he would personally take up this issue with the Union Minister for Forests and Environment. It was also decided in the meeting that the Forest Department would discuss its five years prospective plan with the Finance Department for the creation of posts of the state authority before taking a final call on both these issues.
Emphasising on the need to plant native trees like neem, kikkar, shisham, katha amb, especially along the roads that have been strengthened and widened across the state, Captain Amarinder directed the Forest Department to launch a vigorous plantation drive in association with the National Highways Authority of India and Public Works Department. He suggested plantation of such tress on all the major road where trees had been felled for the purpose of four laning ,especially on the Zirakpur-Bathinda road and Old Mughal Road, Hoshiarpur, besides the Birs of Patiala and Sangrur districts.The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts of the Forest Department, especially for launching plantation of 550 trees in each village of the state in commemoration of 550th Parkash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He asked the Department to intensify its efforts to make this mission a grand success by ensuring proper upkeep and protection of the plants. He directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to encourage the people to plant at least one fruit tree in each householdThe meeting was attended by Local Government Minister Brahm Mohindra, Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, ACS Forest Dr. Roshan Sunkaria, Principal Secretary Finance Anirudh Tewari, Principal Secretary Planning Jaspal Singh, Financial Commissioner Rural Development and Panchayats Anurag Verma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Jatinder Sharma and CEO CAMPA Praveen Kumar.