Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI: The State Forest Minister N. Selvaraj distributed welfare assistance to the tune of Rs.50 lakh to 83 beneficiaries at a function organised by the Forest Department at Sobanapuram in Uppiliapuram Panchayat Union in the district on Thursday.

Distributing the assistance, Mr. Selvaraj said that the Forest Department was executing schemes aimed at increasing forest cover and to improve the lot of the people dependent on forests.

The Tamil Nadu Afforestation Programme was being executed with financial assistance from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. Basic amenities and infrastructural facilities were being improved for people who were staying along the forest areas.

Village level forest protection committees had been constituted and its members as well as women self-help group members residing along the peripheries of forest areas were being distributed micro loans to enable them take up self employment. Saplings were planted in areas belonging to panchayats across the State, he said. The Conservator of Forests, Tiruchi Circle, Ramachandrapathy, Uppiliapuram MLA R. Rani and other forest officials participated in the function. Later, the Minister handed over a computer donated by the Forest Department to the Varatharajapuram Panchayat Union Middle School in Edhumalai panchayat in Manachanallur.