After a stream of welfare programmes for the economically backward in the state, it is the turn of the forests to receive some welfare. The “One Lakh Trees” campaign by the Forest Department, launched here on Saturday, aims to give out subsidised saplings to individuals, organisations and industries, while also giving out a token grant for the upkeep of the plant.

“Just as food is important to man, forests too are important for mankind,” said Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment B. Ramanath Rai during the inaugural programme. Cautioning against the scheme being only in the symbolic stage, he urged the district administration to get other departments – especially Railways and National Highway Authority of India who own large swathes of land here – as well as industrialists and organisations to actively participate in the afforestation drives.

“This is only the first step. We will conduct programmes like this every two months,” he said.

Though opposed to the proposed 4,000 MW Mega Power Plant at Niddodi the former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda lent his support to Yettinahole project. “The revised project takes the water that falls on top of the Ghats. Because of this Netravati won’t be affected, while not one tree in the forests will be felled…The project is important for parched districts of Chikballapura, Tumkur and Kolar, which have received deficit rains this time,” he claimed.

Mr. Gowda urged the government to take up the Rs. 100 crore solar fencing of forests – following the project in Kenya as a model – which would reduce man-elephant conflict.

Scheme details

To enrol into the “One Lakh Tree” campaign scheme, individuals, farmers, industries should inform the Forest Department as to the type of the sapling demanded, the number of saplings needed, and measurement of the plot before the commencement of the monsoon. The beneficiary can enrol by paying Rs. 10 to the nearest Range Forest Office, and by producing a RTC (Rights, Tenancy, Crops) certificate.

The beneficiary is eligible to get saplings at a subsidised rate ranging from Rs. one to Rs. five depending on the size of the sapling. The beneficiaries will also get Rs. 10 for the upkeep of the plant after the first year, Rs. 15 after the second year and Rs. 20 after the third year, albeit following inspections from forest officials.

For details, call the Forest Department at: Mangalore: 0824 2425167; Puttur: 08251 230704; Uppinangadi 08251 251121; Belthangady 08256 232146; Panja: 08257-278294; Bantwal: 08255 232300; Sullia: 08257 230716; Subramanya: 08257 281259.

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