The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is focusing on enhancing forest quality and increasing tree cover for maximising carbon stock, said Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar at the States Forest Ministers' Conference held in New Delhi.
Minister of State in the Environment Ministry Babul Supriyo, other officials in the ministry, Chief Ministers of the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Goa, Deputy Chief Ministers and 24 Forest Ministers from different States participated in the four-hour long meeting held via video conferencing, said a press statement from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Addressing the meeting Javadekar said, "We have taken many initiatives to bring out transformational changes in our policies and programmes and implement several schemes which include massive tree plantation, promoting urban forestry through Nagar Van Scheme, landscape-based catchment treatment of 13 major rivers, LiDAR-based survey of degraded forest areas for soil moisture conservation projects and launch of National Transit Portal to facilitate smooth movement of forest produce."
These efforts are critical to meet our national and international goals under National Forest Policy, Nationally Determined Commitments and restoration of degraded forest land, said Javadekar.
As per the press statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech had announced the launch of Project Lion and Project Dolphin. The Union Environment Minister said that the government will launch a holistic Project Dolphin in a fortnight for the conservation and protection of the dolphins in the rivers and in oceans of the country.
Project Dolphin will involve conservation of dolphins and the aquatic habitat through use of modern technology specially in enumeration and anti-poaching activities. The project will engage the fishermen and other river/ ocean dependent population and will strive for improving the livelihood of the local communities. The conservation of dolphins will also envisage activities which will help in the mitigation of pollution in rivers and in the oceans.
The Union Minister also stated that the government is working on Project Lion that will involve conservation of the Asiatic Lion and its landscape in a holistic manner. Project Lion will entail habitat development, engage modern technologies in lion management and address the issues of disease in lions and associated species through advanced world-class research and veterinary care.
The project will also address human-wildlife conflict and will be inclusive involving local communities living in the vicinity of lion landscape and will also provide livelihood opportunities, he said.
At the meeting, Javadekar stressed that states should use CAMPA funds exclusively for afforestation and plantation. "I announce that 80 per cent of afforestation fund shall be utilised only for afforestation/plantation and the rest 20 per cent can be used for capacity building. The Centre in August 2019 released Rs 47,436 crore CAMPA funds for afforestation to various states. The ministry is also going to announce implementation of School Nursery Scheme shortly," said the Union Environment Minister.
( With inputs from ANI )