Come July 22, the state of Jharkhand celebrates Van Mahotsav( Forest Festival). Every year on this day, trees are planted across the state. But due to lack of maintenance, plants fail to grow and die before reaching maturity.

The scene is different this time when Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren used the occasion to announce that the government will provide five units of free electricity for planting and protecting a tree on an individual campus.

The offer is aimed at improving the green cover in urban areas of the state and including every individual in the tree plantation mission.

Speaking at the Van Mahotsav programme here, Soren said, “Keeping in mind the concretization of urban areas, the government will provide five units of free electricity for planting and protecting each tree in an individual campus.” 

The offer will, however, not be applicable for any plant. “It should be a proper tree, which will help in the conservation of the nature in future,” he said.

The tree cover is on the decline in Jharkhand. An analysis of the Forest Survey of India's (FSI) data suggests that tree cover has declined by 47 sq km in the state in the past decade.

Tree cover is defined as small tree patches and isolated trees outside recorded forest areas, which are less than one hectare in extent. These trees are generally found in urban areas, village woodlots, homesteads, along road, canal, near railway lines and as scattered trees.

Against this backdrop, nobody knows what will be the outcome of this plan of CM Soren. Will trees planted under this new scheme will be protected and maintained so that they grow and spread the space of green cover in Jharkhand or end in the form of another scam? Only time will provide the answer.

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