Governor Bandaru Dattatraya today inaugurated plantation drive at Bhaikhalti Road in Mashobra near Shimla jointly organized by Forest department and State Red Cross Society, Shimla. More than 100 saplings were planted under this campaign. The Governor also planted the sapling of Deodar and Walnut on the occasion.On the occasion, the Governor said that trees were a gift and boon of nature and their preservation and conservation was essential. He said that plantation drive could save and balance the environment and urged the people to actively participate in plantation drive, promoting the agenda and follow it after sapling the plants. He appreciated the efforts of the Forest Department in this regard.He said that at the time of the lockdown during the Corona pandemic, nature had self-corrected itself to make it clear that humans have destroyed the rich environment by exploiting nature. He expressed contentment that people of the state were nature lovers and have always contributed towards conservation of nature. He said that according to the Indian Forest Survey Report-2019 released in December last year, the green forest cover of Himachal Pradesh had registered an increase of 333.52 km, due to which Himachal has ranked fifth among the leading states of the country.
It is a matter of pride for the state, he added. He said that this increase in green cover has been possible due to continuous efforts towards forest protection and plantation in the state. He said that at present, there was about 67 percent forest land in the state. The plantation has to be given priority in 33 percent of the barren land and for this youth would be engaged in plantation activities, he added.The Governor said that by the year 2030, the target has been set to increase the green area of the state from around 27 percent to 30 percent, for which we have to make efforts. He expressed satisfaction that the state government has set a target of planting about one crore 20 lakh saplings in 12 thousand hectare area of 41 forest divisions of the state and said that this would definitely increase the green cover.The Governor also distributed soap and mask to forest employees under COVID-19 response activities of State Red Cross.Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Wild life Dr. Savita Sharma briefed about the programmes being run by the Forest department to increase the green cover of the state.P.S. Rana, Secretary, State Red Cross Society and other officers of district administration were present on the occasion.Later, the Governor also visited Craignano Nature Park and directed the authorities to develop this area more for tourism point of view.He also visited Regional Horticultural Research & Training Station and evinced keen interest in apple plants. Dr. Pankaj Gupta, Associate Director briefed about the research work being done in the centre.