Chandigarh, July 14- Haryana Chief Minister Mr Manohar Lal today expressed his concern over the manner in which the forest area of Mangarbani in Aravalis has been damaged and said that because of the dedication of the local residents, he made an aerial survey to see for himself the area and banned sale and purchase of land in Mangarbani and in a radius of 500 metres of this area.
The Chief Minister, who was addressing a largely attended 66th State Level Van Mahotsava at Chhachhrauli in district Yamunanagar, said that the festival of Van Mahotsava would continue for three months. He urged the people that each family should plant at least one sapling in a year.
The Chief Minister also urged license holders of plywood industry and stone crushers that each of them should undertake plantation over an area of one acre so as to increase the forest cover. He said that those who rank among the first ten in this drive would get incentive. The one, who would stand first, would get a reward of Rs one lakh.
He said that the state government was formulating a plan to promote eco-tourism in Shivalik area and develop it as a herbal park. Species of medicinal plants would be planted in Aravalis area under the guidance of Acharya Balkrishan, an associate of Swami Ramdev.
While urging the people to understand the significance of plants which look after us like a mother, the Chief Minister said that one requires wood even to perform last rites. He also described Chhachhrauli as Cherrapunji of Haryana adding that it was the only area in Haryana which has never been declared as a draught area.
He said that out of the total area of 44 lakh hectares of the state, 1.68 lakh hectares are under forest, which is only 3.9 per cent of the total area. He said that a target has been set to increase the forest cover by six per cent and make it 20 per cent in future.
Haryana Finance Minister Capt. Abhimanyu said that Van Mahotsava used to be celebrated even earlier, but that was only a formality. This time, the Forest Department would plant three crore saplings and ensure their protection and growth. He urged the people to cooperate in increasing the forest cover in the state as it was not only the responsibility of the department.
Speaker, Haryana Vidhan Sabha and MLA Jagadhri, Mr Kanwar Pal urged the people to plant more trees adding that ever since the people have started cutting trees, the water table has fallen. He was all praise for the commitment of Chief Minister for development of Chhachhrauli area.
Earlier, the Chief Minister planted a sapling, went around an exhibition organized by the Forest Department on the occasion and dedicated four ambulance vans to the people of the area.