Mysuru: The Karnataka Government with the aim to increase forest cover in the State has launched ‘Hasiru Karnataka’ initiative with the slogans ‘Manegondu mara, Oorigondu thopu, Talukigondu kiru aranya, Jillegondu vana’ (A tree for every house, A grove for every town, A mini forest for every taluk and A forest for every district).
As part of this initiative to restore the ecological balance, the planting of saplings in different parts of the district has been organised by the Forest Department and the District Administration from Aug.15 to 18, said Mysuru Division Chief Conservator of Forests S.S. Venkatesan.
He was addressing a press conference at Aranya Bhavan in Ashokapuram here yesterday and said that after the Independence Day function tomorrow at the Torch Light Parade Grounds in Bannimantap, the District in-charge Minister G.T. Devegowda will launch the programme by watering the saplings and releasing green balloons carrying Karnataka’s name.
The Forest Survey of India indicated that green cover in Karnataka should be 33 per cent whereas it is now 22.56 per cent. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has announced ‘Hasiru Karnataka’ in the light of good monsoon and increase in groundwater resource, he said.
The District Administration and the Forest Department together will be planting saplings in dry hillocks, Gomalas, Government lands, Government Department Office premises, schools and colleges, farmers’ lands and in compounds of houses and the seed ball planting alongside has also been planned. The students, volunteers and the public can participate in this programme, he said.
Mysuru Division Deputy Conservator of Forests Dr. K.T. Hanumanthappa said that there is a demand from all the government offices in the city for 1,000 saplings. The Department will check as to how many pits in the Government Office premises have been dug and accordingly the saplings will be distributed.
Nearly 50 varieties including 12 feet tall jackfruit, mango, jamoon, cotton, banyan, honne, teak, ebony, white cedar and other saplings in four to six feet in height will be planted, he added.
Support price for farmers: In select villages, the saplings will be planted and in stages farmers will be encouraged to plant saplings in their farms and houses. The Forest Department will supply the saplings and those farmers who plant them will be given a support price for three years. For every sapling in the first two years, Rs.30 will be given and in the third year Rs.40 and in total Rs.100 will be given as support price. From this year even sandalwood saplings will also be distributed, he said.
This year till now over 22 lakh saplings have been planted and around 17 lakh saplings distributed to the public and farmers. In Mysuru including the Ring Road and other main roads 43,000 saplings and in the Mysuru division a total of 72,000 saplings including fruit and flower bearing and shade giving ones have been planted, he added.
Deputy Conservator of Forests (Social Forestry) K.M. Chandrashekar and Wildlife Division’s Siddaramappa were present at the press meet held at Aranya Bhavan.