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State forest department to plant more than three crore saplings on July 1

Van Mahotsav or Forest Day is an annual tree-planting festival from July 1 to 7 across India. Started in 1950 by the ministry of agriculture, millions of saplings are planted to increase green cover in forested and non-forested areas.

The forest department will plant more than three crore saplings on July 1. In addition to the forest areas, saplings will be planted in and around schools, hospitals, municipal parks, gardens, road sides and government buildings.

“Twenty percent of state’s land is under forest cover. Our target is to increase this figure to 33% through Centre’s social forestry programme by 2019,” said forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

Of the 307 lakh hectares of total area in the state, 61.35 lakh hectares comprises forests. To increase the green cover to 33% means planting 400 crore trees.

“Sapling plantation has been conducted several times, but sustenance of trees is low. It is therefore necessary that the initiative becomes a mass public movement,” said forest secretary Vikas Kharge.

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