West Bengal to spend Rs 5 cr on planting trees

Kolkata, Jun 5 (PTI) The West Bengal government will spend Rs 5 crore on planting trees following depletion of green cover in the state due to cyclone Amphan, Environment Minister Saumen Mahapatra said on Friday.

Trees will be planted according to the need and environment of an area after consulting experts, he said.

Thousands of tall trees like coconut will also be planted in many areas to function as lightning arrestors, Mahapatra told a press meet here after attending a function on World Environment Day.

To a question, Mahapatra said the total loss of trees in the Sunderbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, by the cyclone is being assessed 'as we are still collating report from every block.' The minister said the environment department in coordination with the forest department was mulling over the idea to find out and plant tall trees liked by elephants in the habitat of pachyderms.

'This came to my mind after reading about the pregnant jumbo who died in Kerala. We have to look for ways to provide them adequate food at their own place,' he said.

A pregnant elephant died in Kerala's Silent Valley Forest after she was fed a pineapple filled with powerful crackers that exploded in her mouth.

Mahapatra said the department will set up 20 bio- diversity parks in the state in coming days.

'We have already shortlisted three colleges in Kharagpur, Chandrokona and Pingla where such parks will come up in their compound. We had received 40 applications for such parks and approved 20 last year,' he said.

The parks will preserve the biodiversity of the area and make the local population aware of that.

Environment Secretary Vivek Kumar said many microbes were also destroyed along with the uprooted trees in the cyclone and called for sustained effort to restore these by scientifically planting trees. PTI SUS NN NN