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HYDERABAD: The state forest department, in an ambitious plan, will plant 12 crore saplings outside the forest areas by June next to increase the state’s tree cover.

Speaking to Express in his chamber at the secretariat here on Thursday, minister for forests, environment, science and technology S Vijayarama Raju said the state government was taking up a massive afforestation programme as the tree cover went down from 33 percent to 23 percent due to various reasons. In a single day, on September 10 this year, 20 lakh saplings were planted at schools, open grounds, tanks and other places all over the state.

He said the state had 100 tigers, 60 of which were in the Srisailam forest area and the rest in Adilabad and other districts. Srisailam was the first tiger project in the state and Kawal in Adilabad will be the second. The government has taken up the tiger project spread over 900 sq km in Jannaram, Kadem, Tiryani, Asifabad and Sirpuru mandals to protect the tiger population.

Some villages situated very near the proposed Kawal tiger reserve need to be evacuated but people seem not inclined to shift to other areas.

Assuring them that the residents would not be forced out, he sought people’ cooperation in saving the tiger from extinction and protecting the environment. The government was ready to pay Rs 10 lakh each to displaced families, the minister said.

Earlier, the minister released a diary brought out by the State Forest Rangers’ Association.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut