Sarbananda Sonowal

Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar has been selected for implementation of the ‘Nagar Van’ or Urban Forest scheme by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (EFCC).

This was on Monday informed by chief minister Pema Khandu during a virtual meeting with the Union Ministry chaired by EFCC Minister Prakash Javadekar here.

The ‘Nagar Van’ is a scheme being launched by the Union EFCC Ministry that envisages creating forests in 200 urban cities across the country on public-private-partnership basis. The Ministry would offer an initial grant of Rs 2 crore for fencing, maintenance and administrative costs of the earmarked land to be developed.

Khandu informed that as there are only two urban cities in the state – Itanagar and Pasighat – the state capital has been selected for implementation of the scheme this year. He said the department of environment and forest has already earmarked the land measuring about 20 hectares for creation of an ‘Urban Forest’.

Khandu, who is also the minister in-charge of environment and forest, informed Javadekar that the Union Ministry’s ‘Nagar Van’ scheme would be dovetailed with the Smart City project so that the objective of the scheme is achieved in toto.

Giving details of the action taken by the state government in implementation of various central govt schemes regarding environment and forest, the chief minister said that 100 schools across the state are being identified for the scheme ‘School Nursery’.

Under the scheme students would grow their own trees in a chosen place within the school premises and care for it and at the end of year, they would take the sapling and plant it in their own premises. The union ministry plans to cover 1000 schools this year with a target of covering 5000 schools by the year 2024-25.

He further informed that under the plantation under 20-point program of the union ministry, the state had planted 6 lakhs trees surpassing its target of 1 lakh saplings. He assured that by the end of this year, 12 lakh saplings will be planted across the state.

Khandu underscored the importance of getting onboard the Center’s National Transit Pass System in context of Arunachal Pradesh, where stretches of forest land are owned by communities as well as individuals.

As the system (through a portal) ensures seamless movement of forest produce across the country giving farmers economic right over their forest land, he observed that in such a situation farmers will get motivated to plant trees of their choice increasing the forest cover of the state. He directed the state officials to get on board the portal as soon as possible and create awareness amongst the farmers.

The meeting, which was also attended by Union Minister of State for EFCC Babul Supriyo and forest ministers of 30 states and UTs, discussed in detail all the six schemes being launched by the union ministry.

Besides the Nagar Van, School Nursery, Plantation and National Transit Pass System, the ministry is also implementing Water and Fodder Augmentation in Forest Land and Rejuvenation of 12 major Rivers schemes in coordination with the states and union territories.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com