Patna: Bihar government has decided to plant 13.70 crore saplings in the state over the next five years to increase the forest cover to 15 percent of its area.

"Under our new green mission, 13.70 crore saplings will be planted on vacant lands along roads, canals and bundhs over the next five years," Nitish Kumar said at a function organized in Patna, where forest officials made a presentation on the proposed mission.

The drive would be carried out in non-forest areas to meet the target of forest cover of 15 percent of the total area of Bihar as against the present forest cover at 9.79 percent, Kumar said.

Several incentives, including financial assistance, would be provided to people procuring quality and fruit bearing plants, he said.

"A scheme has been conceived under which people from Dalit, Mahadalit and BPL families would be selected as tree guards to protect the saplings," Kumar added.

The Chief Minister also said that conservation works for water and soil on two lakh hectare forest area and plantation of trees on one lakh hectare land would be carried out as part of the mission.