The Forest Department has been asked to work with the Horticulture Department for the rapid increase of green cover from the current 26% to the target 50% using plant cloning technology.

Addressing officers of the line departments at the ‘Vanam Manam’ scheme at Undavalli on Friday, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said the Forest and Horticulture departments could utilise NREGS funds, under convergence, to increase green cover as part of the Vanam Manam programme.

The Chief Minister will kick off the planting of one crore saplings under the Vanam Manam programme on the Nuzvid IIIT Campus on Saturday. The planting of saplings would be continued for 127 days until Vana Mahotsavam is celebrated in Kartikamasam. He assigned responsibilities to Ministers and officers to take up tree plantation in all areas of the State.

The Chief Minister suggested the creation of rain harvesting structures in forest areas to improve greenery and increase the water table. This would be of great benefit to the wildlife also, he said. He said tree planting should be taken up on a large scale in schools. The saplings of fruit bearing trees should be planted, the Chief Minister said.

He said a DFO would be appointed to raise nurseries to make success the Vanam Manam programme. The responsibility of protecting the plants should be given to DWCRA groups. He said five bird sanctuaries in the state should be developed and the mangroves would be protected. He said priority should be given to grow medicinal plants.

Chief Secretary Satish Chandra, Secretary Rajamouli, Principal Secretary of Forests Anantaramu and others were present.

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