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Sonowal lays thrust on forest and wildlife conservation, urges people to shun plastic

Our Correspondent
DIGBOI June 5: Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal led the State in celebrating World Environment Day at Panbari Digboi with the government’s commitment to protect the environment by beating plastic pollution. “If each individual plants 10 saplings a month, 30 crore saplings will be planted across the State which is sure to boost and enhance the green forest cover in the State,” he said while addressing a mammoth gathering after laying the foundation stone of the Nature’s Interpretation Centre- cum-forest museum at Panbari Digboi under Digboi forest division falling within the Upper Dehing Reserve Forest East Block. Chief Minister Sonowal said that 35 per cent area of the State was covered with forests. However, in the last several years, depletion of forest cover had prompted the present State government to take innovative measure like planting of saplings to increase greenery in the State.

Laying special thrust on forest and wildlife conservation, Sonowal urged the people of the State to shun the use of plastic and other pollutant-materials in their day-to-day life for a clean and pollution free environment. Drawing a comparative analysis with other parts of the world, he said that Assam needed to enhance forest cover at all cost.
Accompanied by ministers and a host of MLAs and MPs, top brass of the district civil and police administration and forest officials, Sonowal also took part in a sapling plantation drive at Panbari area and Digboi Arboretum, besides taking part in a prize-cum-sapling distribution ceremony among the students participating in a theme-based drawing competition organized by the Forest Department, Digboi.

Addressing the function at the premises of Digboi’s Arboretum, Chief Minister Sonowal after planting saplings said that low grade single use plastics posed a grave challenge on the environment. To overcome this challenge, a collective approach was required to deal with the plastic induced pollution. He also said that since plastic was not bio-degradable; use of low grade plastics reduced soil fertility. He also stressed creating soil awareness to beat plastic pollution. Taking the name of Ananda Khataniar who has taken the cajole of denouncing the use of plastic to make a plastic-free village in Barpeta district, Sonowal said that in the present times, creating social awareness would go a long way in creating deterrent against plastic related pollution.

Sonowal also laid the stone foundation of a 10.10-km long Tingai-Makum Ali road to be upgraded and erected out of Central Road Fund at an estimated cost standing at Rs 21, 68, 95,489 here at Tingrai bazaar in the presence of Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, Minister of State Tapan Kumar Gogoi, MP Rameswar Teli, MLAs Suren Phukan and Bolin Chetia.

Addressing a public meeting at Tingrai auditorium in a separate programme, Sonowal assured that his government would not betray the aspirations and expectations of the people of Assam and would always stand for the cause of peace, progress, fraternity and solidarity among the people of the State. He appealed to people not to be misguided by any provocation. Khatiyan, a sketch-cum-pictorial representation of developmental works of 123 Digboi Legislative Assembly Constituency accomplished by BJP MLA Suren Phukan was also distributed in the programme.

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Ankur Kalita