Kolkata, March 10 ITC Ltd, according to the company's just released 4th Sustainability Report, under its Social and Farm Forestry initiative has greened over 77,0000 hectares, creating an estimated

Following the initiative by two banks to increase forest cover in Titwala, two companies have now offered to contribute in a similar manner in Kausa near Mumbra and in Kalwa. Mahindra Life Space Developer Limited of the Mahindra Group and Sandoz Pvt Lt have approached the Forest department in Thane requesting it to lease out a 250-hectare plot in Kausa and a 5-hectare plot in Kalwa respectively in order to turn the patches green. Forest land can be leased out for a period of time for such purposes. According to a Forest official, the two banks have leased out 25 acres each on the banks of Kalu River in Titwala and work is in progress. Deputy Conservator of Forest (Thane) Bhaskarao Walimbe said that the proposal is pending with the Forest department and the agreement should be signed between the two parties in a couple of months' time so that the work can start in the monsoon. However, the task for the companies on both the plots will be daunting because of rocky terrain and encroachment. "In case of Kausa, the plot which is to be handed over to Mahindra Life Space Developer Limited, was an encroached plot,' said Walimbe. The Forest department with help from the police and TMC officials had cleared off the encroachment a few days ago

Speakers at a seminar held at Patuakhali Science and Technology University (PSTU) yesterday underscored the need for massive afforestation along the coastal belt to reduce damage in natural disasters like cyclone and tidal wave. Held at the conference room of the university, the seminar was presided by Prof Abdul Latif Masum while University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Prof Nazrul Islam was present as chief guest. Speakers stressed on creation of a disaster management department or institute on the campus to build technical hands. They proposed short and long-term initiatives in this regard. Dhaka University (DU) Geography and Environment Department chairman Prof AQM Mahbub presented the key-note paper. Among others, DU Disaster Research Training and Management Centre director Dr AHM Abdul Bukee, DU Geography and Environment Department teacher Prof Nazrul Islam Nazem, Food and Disaster Management joint secretary Pranab Chakrabarty, Dr Mahumudul Islam, expert of Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP), SPARRSO principal scientific officer Dr Jinnatul Islam and , PSTU Asstt Prof Golam Rabbani addressed.

The 2005 report of the Dehradun-based Forest Survey of India reveals that the forest and tree cover in Delhi now stands at 19.09% of the total geographical area which is an increase of 15 sq km over the 2003 assessment. The survey report attributes this increase in open forest cover of the total forest cover to plantations carried out in the capital. Like all other states, Delhi has to reach the target of expanding the green cover to 33 per cent of the capital's geographical area by 2021 to meet the requirements of the National Forest Policy. Environment secretary JK Dadoo said the assessment of 2005 is information in retropect and a lot of greening action has happened between 2005 and 2007.

Ample financial resources have been allocated to increase the forest cover from 5.01-6 percent by 2015, said President Parvez Musharaf in a message on the occasion of National Spring Tree Plantation that would be observed on Friday, February 15. He said that under the Mid-Term Development fund (MTDF) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), huge resources have been allocated. In addition to mega forestry sector projects, an amount of Rs 12 billion has been approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) which will be implemented by all the provincial governments, as well as AJK and the Northern Areas. He further said that our entire rural population depends upon wood and biomass as a primary source of energy. Despite their indirect contribution to other production sectors, economic values of forests are usually underestimated in natural accounts and the GDP. President directed the provincial governments to implement these projects with the involvement of all stakeholders including farmers, local communities, forest owners and right holders, civil organisations, the private sector and students. The president reiterated that Pakistan, as a member of various international and regional forums on forests is committed to undertake forestry development programme with international support. He said that the government will ensure transfer of technologies, training and upgrading of departmental infrastructure to facilitate the provinces in implementing their strategies and programmes of forestry sector. He urged all the citizens to participate in the national efforts to cover barren land of the country with trees. Syed Wajid Hussain Bokhari, Federal Environment Minister, said that President will inaugurate the National Spring Tree Planting campaign on Friday. More than 86.5 million saplings will be planted all over the country during the campaign. He further said that the spring tree plantation campaign target includes planting 22 million saplings in Punjab, 1.2 million in Sindh, 27 million in NWFP, 1.5 million in Balochistan, 16 million in AJK, 4 million in Northern Areas and 4 million saplings by other departments including Capital Development Authority (CDA). Copyright Business Recorder, 2008

ISLAMABAD (PPI) President Pervez Musharraf inaugurated the national spring tree plantation drive here on Friday. More than 86.5 saplings would be planted during the drive all over the country. Federal Minister for Environment, Syed Wajid Hussain Bukhari told the media men after inauguration ceremony that during Spring plantation drive, 22 million in Punjab, 12 million in Sindh, 27 million in NWFP, 1.5 million in Balochistan and 16 million in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 4 million in Northern Areas and 4 million saplings by different departments would be planted, says a press release issued here. In his message for the occasion, President Musharraf said that forests are the essential part of environment system. Forests regulate the water supplies to reservoirs and irrigation systems, which are the lifeline for the agro-based economy of Pakistan. Trees are natural air filters and perform protective function to stabilise mountainous land and to rebuild fertility of lands. He said our entire rural population also depends upon woods and biogas as a primary source energy. Despite their indirect contribution in other production sectors, economic values of forests are usually underestimated in national accounts and GDP. President Musharraf under Medium term Development Framework (2005-10) and Millenium Development Goals (2015) ample financial resources has been allocated to increase forest cover from 5.01 percent to 6 percent by 2015. Moreover, he said ECNEC has approved Rs 12 billion to launch mega projects of wood in all provinces, AJK and Northern Areas. He directed the provincial governments to ensure implementation on these projects. The President reiterated that Pakistan, as a member of various international and regional forums on Forests is committed to undertake forestry development programme with international support. He said the government would endeavour to ensure transfer of technologies, training and upgrading of departmental infrastructure in order to facilitate the Provinces in implementation their strategies and programmes of Forestry sector. He urged all Pakistani citizens to participate in the national efforts to cover barren land with trees.

: Ignoring the state finance minister's suggestion to increase state forest coverage to 33 per cent from the existing 27 per cent earlier this month, a CPI-M-run Bural gram panchayat in Sabang block in Midnapore West has aimed to increase their revenue by felling trees reared by a group of tree-huggers. Mr Asim Dasgupta, the state finance minister, had made this suggestion while discussing the environmental impact of degrading trees at a function in Kolkata.

How will vast regions of India, where highly unreliable rainfall makes the difference between famine and sustenance, cope with climate change? Over 85 per cent of the cultivated area in this country

shifting its earlier stand, the Union ministry of environment and forests (moef ) has decided to write off heavy dues from the Indian Army for using forestland for training. The decision to waive the

>> On April 16, the Anti-vivisection League, an animal rights group in Italy, asked Pope Benedict to stop wearing fur as a sign of respect for the "sacredness of all living species'. The Pope

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