‘Forest Man of India’ Jadav Payeng has launched ‘Clean and Green Village Mission’ at Torajan in Tinsukia district of Assam
The Assam government has launched the Clean and Green Village Mission with the twin objectives of promoting conservation of the environment and hygiene.
One village has been selected from every district across the state which takes the total to 33 villages where the project will be implemented. It is an initiative of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal under MyGov Assam which is an online platform.
The project has been launched at Chakial gaon under Athkhelia gaon panchayat of Golaghat district by brand ambassador of the state forest department Ananda Khataniar.
Addressing the gathering, environmentalist Ananda Khataniar made a case for promoting conservation of the environment and made an appeal to senior citizens to educate the youths about the importance of conservation and the need to plant more saplings. He also focused upon reducing the use of plastic and banning plastic materials for single use and appealed to the villagers to maintain hygiene and sanitation at all cost. At Torajan village in Tinsukia district, the scheme was inaugurated by Jadav Payeng, better known as the “Forest Man of India” where he spoke about the need to promote a plastic-free environment and conservation of the environment. As a part of the programme, tree saplings and sports items were distributed by the department of forests and environment to the people.
The project assumes importance since Assam and the Northeast is a biodiversity hotspot – one among the three such zones in the country. The Northeast has suffered massive deforestation in the past couple of decades which prompted the Supreme Court to ban felling of trees in 1996. However, continuous media reports and data released by the Assam government reveal that encroachment of forest is on as also deforestation and earth cutting.
On 22nd December 2015, the government informed Parliament the 19 lakh hectares of forests are under encroachment with Madhya Pradesh topping the list at 27 per cent and Assam in the second position. In a recent reply to an RTI query by Nityananda Kalita, the Assam government disclosed that close to 4 lakh hectares of forest land has been encroached upon in the state which includes national parks such as the World Heritage Site of Manas, reserve forests, and numerous wildlife sanctuaries.
It identified as many as 26 out of 33 districts in the northeastern state that have suffered encroachment of forests. The total encroachment adds up to 3,87,885 hectares which is 22 per cent out of the total of 17,36,301 hectares of the state’s forest cover.
According to the Indian State of Forest Report, 2017, of the Dehradun based Forest Survey of India, 567 sq km of forest cover has increased in Assam compared to the cover assessed in 2015. However, another study carried out by the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing has predicted a depletion of 9,007.14 square km (2.94 per cent) of forests in parts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by 2028.
The study titled Forest Cover Monitoring and Prediction in a Lesser Himalayan Elephant Landscape, which has also been published in Current Science argues that deforestation and loss of wildlife habitat in Upper (eastern) Assam is likely to influence not only adjoining Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh but western Assam as well.
© 2016 Sulabh Swachh Bharat. All Right Reserved