New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday sought Centre's help in providing external funding for Rs 771.52 crore for Punjab Biodiversity & Natural Resources Conservation Project' through an international funding agency.
At a meeting with Union Minister of Environment and Forests Jayanti Natarajan, he apprised her that the comprehensive project would ensure protection, conservation and development of forests, wildlife and natural resources in a holistic manner coupled with livelihood generation for poverty alleviation in forest fringe areas.
He also informed that this project would be implemented throughout the state in eight years in a phased manner. Demanding enhancement in the Annual Plan of Operations of the state under Punjab Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) from Rs 75 crore for 2012-13 to Rs 100 crore for the next year, Badal said the state government had already launched an ambitious 'Greening Punjab Mission' under which it was envisaged to increase the forest and tree cover from the existing 7 percent to 15 percent of
geographical area in the next eight years.
The state government planned to plant about five crore saplings annually for the next 7-8 years and said a separate fund designated as 'Greening Punjab Fund' has also been established for the purpose. Badal also demanded release of balance amount of Rs 56 crore under the project for 2012-13.
Demanding the Inclusion of Agro-forestry in CAMPA and other centrally-sponsored schemes, Badal asked the Union Minister to review the guidelines and also permit inclusion of Agro Forestry/Farm Forestry activities under its ambit for benefit of forest deficient states like Punjab.
He also sought Rs 40 crore for setting up hi-tech modern nurseries and Rs 25 crore for state forest research & educational institute, besides a special grant of Rs 108 crore to eradicate the menace 'Lantana' weed from Kandi belt and another Rs 3.5 crore for establishing herbal gardens and nurseries.


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