The Punjab government has all set to boost the Agro Forestry in the state among the peasantry to desist them from the cultivation of wheat and paddy by providing 1 crore 40 lac free saplings to farmers. Chunni Lal Bhagat, Forest and Wild Life Preservation Minister, Punjab while presiding over a meeting of the all District Forest Officers (DFOs) said that Punjab has a vast potential in the field of Agro-Forestry as the state has a large semi hilly area like Hoshiarpur and Rupnagar Districts. Under "Greening Punjab Mission" and crop persification plan, Punjab Government would decrease the area under cultivation for traditional crops like Paddy and Wheat and the Forest Department would have to play a key role in this initiative, he added.The Forest Minister said that the department would provide the free saplings of colonel Eucalyptus and Popular to the farmers.
He directed the DFOs to sensitize the farmers to adopt the Agro Forestry as these plants grow at faster pace without any extra efforts and expenditure and provides substantial earnings for the farmers. Mr. Bhagat has instructed the DFOs to launch an awareness campaign and organize seminars at village level to educate the farmers about the Green Mission. They should also be sensitized for saving of wild animals as the farmers generally tends to kill such animals to save their crops from being spoilt. The Minister has asked the department to provide the mobile numbers of forest guards and other officers among the farmers so that they could immediately inform them the onslaught of wild animals on their fields.Principle Chief Conservator of Forests Mr. H.S. Gujral apprised the minister about the progress on the ongoing projects being undertaken by the department. Prominent amongst present in the meeting included Mr. M.P, Rai, MD Forest Corporation, Mr. Kuldeep Kumar and Mr, R. K. Loona, both Additional Principle Chief Conservators of Forests, Mr. R.K. Chaudhary, Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr. Dhirender Singh, Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab.