Forest cover in Goalpara
Assam environment & forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya planting a sapling in presence of deputy commissioner Varnali Deka during a programme in Goalpara district. Image credit – Northeast Now

After the implementation of the ambitious project ‘Greening Goalpara’, the forest cover in the Goalpara district increased from 19.90 to 26 percent in 2018-19.

The district administration of Goalpara planted approximately 15 lakhs of saplings during 2018-2019, official sources said.

The overall forest cover in Assam has increased by 221.54 sq km. However, the green cover in six other northeastern states has recorded depletion.

Also read: Northeast faces forest cover loss

The ‘Greening Goalpara’ drive was launched on July 27, 2018, by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal at Dudhnoi.

Within 19 days after the launch of the programme, the district administration, assisted by all of its departments including the social forestry, could plant about 12 lakh saplings.

However, the tally reached enviously about 15 lakhs in the district at the end of the year 2019.

“Since its inception, we have planted so far 15.34 lakh saplings in reserve forests, hills, wasteland, school campuses, roadside, and government buildings along with protective measures,” said Goalpara deputy commissioner Varnali Deka.

“Various organisations, government employees, students, men and women across the district took a pledge to maintain the saplings in each household which made the mission possible,” Deka.

She added, “The vision was to plant an equal number of trees to the population of the district which will be approximately 12 lakhs and 20% additional plantations for the future generations.”

Nayanjyoti Rajbongshi, ACF, Goalpara forest division, remarked, “The success of the drive hugely contributed to the environment and especially, made the students aware of their surroundings and the role of nature in our lives.”

Meanwhile, commenting on the success of the project, Parvez Ali, a leading youth social worker said, “The Greening project was mostly focused on the urban afforestation.”

“But the main challenge before the administration is to tackle the encroachments in the reserve forests and lessen the man-elephant conflict,” Ali added.

Sofikul Ahmed

Sofikul Ahmed is Northeast Now Correspondent in Goalpara. He can be reached at: dull.sofik@gmail.com