Gangtok, May 20: In an initiative to protect the aesthetic natural beauty, the State government and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has launched a large scale tree plantation drive.
"We have proposed the avenue plantation that we have taken up, will be complete in entire Sikkim in three years. In this, we are not just planting trees but it is important especially for the survival and protection of the State," said S.B Subedi, a State Minister.
Sikkim already has ample greenery due to its location at the foothills of Himalayas, but it was felt that the green cover needs to be further strengthened to stop landslides, slips and the sinking of the soil.
It is believed that mass afforestation will reduce air, water and noise pollution, besides strengthening the area’s natural beauty.
For tourism, the thrust is being laid on roads to provide a panoramic view of Sikkim. Operation Sikkim Green Mission was launched last year by Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling.
The green project’s special features include the plantation of saplings along roads and developing them as avenues, covering Government and institutional vacant lands with greenery and conversion of vacant small pockets into small parks.
Various departments of the Government, nature lovers from the Government and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including different Eco Clubs and Self Help Groups, have been involved for the success of this special project.
Dantak, an organisation of the Border Roads Organisation, which was given responsibility for preparing detailed projects reports for the improvement of five roads in Sikkim, is keen on implementing this afforestation project.
The Border Roads Organisation is planting 4,000 seedlings annually with the help of the State Forest Department to cover up for the loss of greenery due to road construction.
"The Honourable Chief Minister has assured his full support to us... jointly we can tackle, especially the problem where these forests are denuding and whatever damages caused to the environment because of road construction, we plan to at least double the trees which are being damaged by deforestation," said Brigadier M.S Pillai, the Chief Engineer of Dantak.