The Centre had sanctioned Rs. 90 lakh for the establishment of an Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at M.R. Palayam, near here, the State Forest Minister N. Selvaraj said on Saturday.

It will come up on a total area of 19.5 acre at a cost of Rs. 1.25 crore, he told reporters here.

The proposed centre will take care of the aged and ailing elephants besides those taken over from neglectful owners by the department.

The centre would have necessary facilities inside to take care of the pachyderms besides accommodation for mahouts and forest department staff.

The Forest Department had embarked on the task of enhancing green cover outside forest areas through the Tree Cultivation in Private Lands (TCPL) scheme from 2007-08 financial year onwards. Over 80,000 acres had been covered under the scheme over the last three financial years benefitting more than 56,000 farmers.

The Department will implement the TCPL scheme in the current financial year on a total area of 36,000 acres across the State by planting 1.25 crore saplings.

The Minister said one lakh saplings would be planted at Coimbatore in connection with the World Classical Tamil Conference to be held in that city in the last week of this month. About 8.7 lakh saplings would be planted all over the State to celebrate the 87{+t}{+h} birthday of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

Earlier, Mr. Selvaraj reviewed the progress of the works being carried out by the department in which the Principal Secretary, Environment and Forest Department Debendranath Sarangi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A.S. Balanathan, Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Forest Plantation Corporation Limited P. Raja Muthaian and Conservators of Tiruchi, Vellore, Madurai, Dindigul, Salem, Dharmapuri, Villupuram, Coimbatore, Erode, Virudhunagar and Chennai took part in the meeting.