State mulls new policy for ‘green cover’
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The state government has proposed a new social forestry policy to be implemented in non-forest areas to increase green cover.
"In Maharashtra, there is 19 to 20 per cent of forest land. The social forestry department has decided to provide green cover to 80 per cent of the non-forest area and will elicit cooperation from local self-government bodies in this endeavour," officials in the department said.
Water Conservation Minister Nitin Raut, who holds the charge of social forestry, has appointed a study group headed by former Chief Secretary Arun Bongirwar to formulate the policy.
"The group comprises 18 members from revenue, forest, agriculture departments, social forestry, pollution control board and municipal corporations of Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai, private enterprises and environment consultants, including Bongirwar. The first meeting of this committee will be held on November 23," officials said.
The group will include concepts of community forestry, village parks, urban forestry such as plantations along roads, ponds and all public spots, green belt by beautification of industrial areas, farm and agro-forestry like tree plantation near farm ponds, road side plantation, tree credit, bamboo plantation, development and marketing among others.
"The idea is to propagate a new theme that wherever there is land, there should be greenery," officials said.
Tree credit is a new concept, which the study group will advise the government on increasing public participation in social forestry and how the public can get income from the trees planted by them.
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