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What purpose do massive but messy plantations serve?

The massive plantation drives in Assam continue to be messy – either falling short of achieving targets or overlapping plantations.

plantations

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 Oct 2022 3:09 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: The massive plantation drives in Assam continue to be messy – either falling short of achieving targets or overlapping plantations. The survival rate of the seedlings in the Forest Department's nurseries is also low.

According to official sources, the afforestation target from 2015-2020 fell short of achieving the target by 33.88 per cent. The CAG report said, "Afforestation initiatives were hindered due to failure of departmental authorities to protect the land from encroachment, non-demarcation of forest land, a doubtful declaration on creation of plantation, absence of coordination between Forest department and Revenue department authorities etc."

A source said, "Forest department has several nurseries to grow seedlings. They, however, allegedly go for random buying of saplings from private parties during various occasions, including the Van Mohotsav Week every year. They buy saplings without having a clear-cut picture of land available for plantation and the requirement of saplings. The department also does not keep records of saplings bought from private parties. In the past decade, the department planted crores of saplings on various occasions. However, it does not have the records of survived saplings."

The CAG also mentioned in its report that "in 2019-20, the department could utilize 25 per cent of the available stocks of seedlings, while 75 per cent seedlings remained unused… The selection of plantation sites by Golaghat Social Forestry Division despite prior information about encroachment from the Majuli Deputy Commissioner led to wasteful expenditure of Rs 36.89 lakh."

The CAG recommended investigations into many such anomalies, leading to wasteful expenditure.

Also Read: Lemon saplings plantation programme at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Khanapara

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