Neeru Chettu

The Government of Andhra Pradesh have launched “Mission Haritha Andhra Pradesh “(MHAP) during 2016 with a goal to achieve tree cover over 50 per cent of the total geographical area of the State by 2029 under “Vanam-Manam”. As part of this ambitious programme, the achievements of the Forest Department since from the formation of “Navyandhra” are as follows:

• About 50 Crore seedlings were planted.
• Raised block plantations over an area of 26,853 ha, 1523 km of Avenue Plantations and dibbled 2936 mt of seed.
• The department has taken up 9,31,013 (23.27 lakh cum) staggered contour trenches, 4556 (4.55 lakh cum) mini percolation tanks, 2712 km (203.40 lakh cum) water absorption / elephant proof trenches and 367 check dams to conserve the soil and moisture.
• As a part of “Prakruti Pilustondi” awareness programme department conducted 13,717 events (like green runs, cycle rallies, trekking, visits to natural forest areas, debates, group discussions, elocutions, seminars, essay writing, quiz competitions on nature and environment etc.) to create awareness among the public and 10,29,104 students / public participated and 1,07,87,582 seedlings were planted.

Due to these efforts there is an increase of 2141 Sq.km of forest cover from 2015 to 2017 in our state and Andhra Pradesh stood first in terms of increase in Forest Cover as per IFSR, 2017.

In order to continue the momentum, following schemes with new concepts are being proposed for the first time in the budget of the year 2018-19.

1. VanamManam (Afforestation): Plantation in and outside forest areas will be taken up in a big way involving all Departments, Institutions, and common people in general. This year 25 cr seedlings under different components such as Shelter belt, Avenue, Mangrove, Hills, Tanks, Institutions etc will be taken up. The state government will pool funds from all possible sources and ensure that the plantations are done successfully.
This year total Rs 20.654 Crores have been earmarked in the budget for afforestation programmes.

2. VanaSanjeevani(SMC works) : Under new concept of VanaSanjeevani scheme, Elephant proof Trenches/Water Absorption trenches, Peripheral trenches, Mini-percolation tanks, check dams,Rock fill dams and other SMC works will be taken up with an objective to enhance water table, arrest desertification and assist natural regeneration. The proposed SMC works slow down the moving waters and supports in recharging ground water table.
For the year 2018-19, 2750 km trench works, 100 checkdams, 5000 Rock fill dams, 2500 Mini percoloation tanks with a financial outlay of Rs 75.00 Crore is proposed.

3. Nagaravanams (City Forests): For providing wholesome living environment and contributing to Smart, Clean, Green and Healthy Cities Nagarvanams (City Forests) are being set up in the State. This scheme wasstarted in the year 2018-19. The state government is committed to promoting it further and as such has provided financial out lay of 25 Crore to develop and strengthen Nagarvanams in the entire State.

4. VanVihari (Eco Tourism): The state has started Eco-Tourism initiatives by taking up creation of new community based eco-tourism centres and strengthening the existing Eco-Tourism centers by involving local tribals in the implementation. For the very first time, for the year 2018-19, Rs 10 Crore has been proposed for developing Ecotourism.

5. Van Samrakshana (Forest Protection): The State is committed to protecting its forests especially Red Sanders which is pride of Andhra Pradesh. Strengthening of Base camps, establishment of striking force, installation of CCTV cameras and Command Control units, check posts modernization, maintenance of roads, fire protection in Red sanders bearing areas in Kadapa, Chittoor, Kurnool and Nellore Districts with a financial outlay of Rs 25 crores will be taken up in 2018-19. Such a huge amount for Red Sanders protection has been allocated for the first time in the State.