Shillong, July 25: The Union Home Minister Amit Shah, on Sunday launched the Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign at Sohra supported by Assam Rifles.
He also opened the Greater Sohra Water Supply Scheme.
Minister of DoNER, G. Kishen Reddy, Minister of State for Science & Technology and Department of Space, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (DoNER) BL Verma, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and senior officials of the central and state governments were present.
Shah gave the slogan “Evergreen Northeast”, underlining the importance of afforestation and tree plantation. The home minister said earlier Cherrapunji used to have rains throughout the year, but due to indiscriminate harvesting in the name of development, the situation has changed.
Now the wettest place is Mawsynram.
He said that an ambitious project to make Cherrapunji green again has started on Sunday.
Shah informed that the entire area of Cherrapunji is going to be adopted by Assam Riffles for the purpose of plantation.
He said that trees are cut for fuel and other purposes, so 80% of the total land will be planted with traditional and long lifespan trees, the remaining 20% will be used for animal feed, ornamental plants and nursery which will meet all the requirements and help reduce the felling of long lifespan trees. With this technique, multi-level farming is done and the forest grows 30 times faster and after 3 years it becomes free of maintenance.
Shah said eco-tourism will be greatly benefited by this, besides tourism of Meghalaya will also get a boost.
Shah said that the country is intact because of the paramilitary forces deployed to protect the country’s borders.
“Since the last two years they are also shouldering the responsibility of improving the environment and so far have planted one crore and forty eight lakh trees, out of which one crore thirty six lakh plants are growing,” Shah said.
He said that this year also about one crore saplings will be planted in different areas by making a strategy and in the next three years a target has been set to plant 1 million trees in 1000 hectares.
Shah said that the Assam Rifles has a history that whatever work has been given to them in the last 180 years, they have completed it on time.
All the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are planting trees across the country on Sunday as part of the tree plantation drive launched at the initiative of Shah.
More than 16 lakh and 31 thousand saplings are being planted under this campaign.
Shah garlanded the statue of Swami Vivekananda at Ramakrishna Mission, Sohra and participated in the prayer programme. Shah also met the dignitaries of Ramakrishna Mission.
Sohra water project
Shah said that as part of the Prime Minister’s ambitious project Jal Jeevan Mission, with the support of Ministry of DoNER and the state government, under the North-East Special Infrastructure Scheme, the Greater Sohra Water Project costing Rs 25 crore, will provide pure drinking water through taps to every household.
Shah said that if the source of water is not pure then people will not be healthy, therefore Modi has set the target of providing pure drinking water to every household in Meghalaya and the country before the completion of 75 years of Independence and 50 years of Meghalaya.
There is an ambitious programme to provide drinking water to 2,80,000 families in Meghalaya, which is clubbed into 1874 small projects.
Shah said the task of delivering such an ambitious project in this remote area is extremely important and challenging. The Centre has so far allocated Rs 400 crore and as the work progresses further allocations will be made.