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Punjab targets to increase forest cover from 7 to 15 per cent

Times Of India (New Delhi), 10th June, 2013

Punjab government has chalked out an ambitious Rs 1,900 crore plan for the implementation of the " Greening Punjab Mission" with the target to increase the forest area from 7 to 15 per cent in next seven years.

Under this ambitious mission, 40 crore saplings are to be planted on various places across the state, forest and wildlife preservation minister, Surjit Kumar Jyani, said in a release here.

Under the 'Greening Punjab Mission,' 40 crore saplings would be planted in all available vacant farm lands in Punjab.

Punjab aims to enhance the forest and tree cover from the existing 7 per cent to 15 per cent of the geographical area of the state, he said.

The National Forest Policy envisages 33 per cent of the country's area under forest and tree cover for safeguarding the environment and ecology of the nation, the Minister said.

"Punjab being a predominantly agricultural state has less than 7 per cent of its area under forest/tree cover, resulting in severe environmental and ecological degradation and also leads to rapidly rising pollution levels in the air, water and soil," he added.