Marginal increase in forest cover in State

The State’s forest cover has increased by only 3.72 lakh hectares between 1999 and 2009, though the State government planted 52 crore saplings covering 6.39 lakh hectares under the afforestation programme during the period.

In a reply to BJP’s Manohar Maski and the Congress’ R V Venkatesh on the afforestation programme in the Legislative Council, Forest Minister C P Yogeeshwara said the State’s forest cover has increased from 32.46 lakh hectares in 1999 to 36.19 lakh hectares in 2009 –  amounting to an increase of 3.72 lakh hectares in one decade.

The figures only reveal that the success rate of the programme is about 50 per cent, thus exposing the failure of the Forest Department in effectively implementing the afforestation programme despite spending a mammoth amount of Rs 1,530.52 crore in 10 years, noted the official sources.

Although the minister claimed that an average 70 per cent of saplings planted under the programme have survived between 1998-99 and 2006-07 (evaluation of 2007-08 programme is now underway), the overall increase in forest cover in the State is only 50 per cent.

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