April 12, 2014
1000 days at a glance: Conservation of forests
The West Bengal Government under the leadership of Ms. Mamata Banerjee has been instrumental in initiating projects to conserve the greenery in the State. During the tenure of the present government, two crore saplings have been planted per year and sowing has been done in 10,000 hectares. 78.6 lakh man-days have been spent on this work.
4386 Bon Suraksha Committees are working to conserve forests. Revenue collection from selling wood was only Rs 75.33 crore during 2010-11. During 2012-13, it increased to Rs 104.24 crore.
Here are the achievements of the Forest Department:
Conservation of biodiversity: With the co-operation of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a project of Rs 406 crore has been taken up to conserve forests and wildlife.
Eco-tourism: With the help of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Ltd., 17 eco-tourism projects in North Bengal and three in South Bengal have been taken up. Cottages are being constructed. The Lamahata project has already started.
West Bengal Wasteland Development Corporation Ltd: The West Bengal Wasteland Development Corporation Ltd. (WBWDCL)has been made functional. Under the aegis of WBWDCL, tree plantation has been carried out over 1260 acres.
Wildlife census: Census of wild animals have been performed, including those of rhinoceros, gaur (both in Gorumara National Park), Red Panda (Singalila National Park) and crocodile (in Sunderbans National Park).
Coastal Zone Management Project: A Coastal Zone Management Project has been started in Purba Medinipur district with the assistance of the World Bank.
West Bengal Zoo Authority: West Bengal Zoo Authority has become operational and 10 small zoos have been brought under its purview. A master plan is being prepared for all the small zoos in the state. Special steps have been taken to conserve endangered species.
Selling kendu leaves: Many people in the state are engaged in the plucking and selling of kendu leaves. With a view to help such people with their livelihoods, the state government has increased the price at which they can sell the leaves from Rs 48 per chatta (contains 2000 leaves) to Rs 75 per chatta.