Meghalaya’s Cherrapunji, once credited as the wettest place on Earth, would be adopted by Assam Rifles for an ambitious plantation drive to restore the lost greenery in the world-famous spot.

With the plantation of lakhs of saplings, an ambitious project to make Cherrapunji green again has started on Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.

He said that Cherrapunji used to have rains throughout the year, but due to indiscriminate tree-felling in the name of development, the situation has changed over the years.

“In Cherrapunji, trees were felled for fuel and other uses. Hence, 80 per cent of the total land would be planted with traditional and long lifespan trees, and the remaining 20 per cent would be used for animal feed, ornamental plants, and nurseries. These plantation strategies would meet all the requirements and help reduce the felling of long lifespan trees,” he said after launching the “Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign” at Cherrapunji.

On Sunday record number of 16.31 lakh saplings were planted at Cherrapunji.

“With this technique, multi-level farming is done and the forest grows 30 times faster and after three years, it becomes free of maintenance. Eco-tourism would be greatly benefited by this, besides tourism of Meghalaya would also get a boost,” Shah added.

Cherrapunji, 58 km south of Shillong, is a tourism hotspot and the area’s once year-round rain earned it a place into the Guinness World Records as the wettest place on earth.

Noting that the Assam Rifles have a history of completing whatever work that has been given to them in the last 180 years in time, he said that all the Central Armed Police Forces are planting trees across the country.

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