In a bid to increase the green cover in the state to 33.33 per cent as per the National Forest Policy, Tamil Nadu government has sanctioned Rs 50.50 lakh towards planting of trees in rocky terrain and distribution of free seedlings to schools, health and educational institutions.
According to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, the state presently has a forest cover of 18.16 per cent, while the National Forest Policy of 1988 says 33.33 per cent of the land has to be maintained under forests and tree cover.
A recent order by the government held that the task of afforestation in the problem areas was "complex and challenging, especially in difficult and rocky areas of the region" and proposed to raise 60 hectare of rock afforestation plantations in rocky areas.
This work will be done by breaking sediments, rocks, besides filling up with decomposed organic matter and soil, and provision for watering. Tree species of fruit yielding plants like 'Sita', 'Neem' and 'Kallichi' will be planted at Rs 30,000 per hectare in view of special nature of work in such terrain, Forest Secretary C V Sankar said in the order.
The order followed recommendations made by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, who has estimated Rs 18 lakh as expenses for the purpose.
Happy with the response to the free distribution of seedlings last year, the government has also sanctioned Rs 32.50 lakh this year to distribute seedlings in schools.