One crore 'tree ambassadors' would be appointed across Maharashtra to help achieve the government's aim to plant 50 crore saplings in the next phase of the plantation drive.
The announcement to this effect was made by state Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar after he inaugurated a 'Transit Treatment Centre' for wildlife here yesterday.
Lauding the dedicated efforts of forest officials and the staff in making the earlier tree plantation drive in July a great success, Mungntiwar assured them all cooperation in their endeavour for forest and wildlife conservation.
Now, the target for tree plantation has been enhanced from two crore to 50 crore.As a part of its efforts to make the plantation drive a success again, the government has decided to appoint one crore 'tree ambassadors' (vruksha doot) across the state.
The ambassadors shall give an undertaking that each one of them shall plant one sapling every year and also that they shall act as 'vruksha mitra' to take care of the survival and conservation of trees in the state, the minister said.
Mungantiwar, who also hold Finance portfolio, said the definition of economic prosperity has changed in recent times.
"It is not per capita income that decides prosperity of any country but it is in terms of per capita happiness. Bhutan has topped the list of per capita happiness as it has more trees per person compared to any other country in the world. More the tree the more is happiness among the people," he said, while stressing on the need for more trees and forests in Maharashtra to make people happier.
He also described the launch of the transit treatment centre here as one of the most important and positive steps initiated by the government for conservation of wildlife.
The centre, spread over 370.25 sqm, comprises an OPD, operation theatre, rooms for doctors and storage of medicines along with a couple of open cages for the treatment of animals.
The facility would be available for immediate medical treatment to wild animals injured or rescued from the forests. Senior forest and veterinary officials were present on the occasion.