SMVD Shrine Board takes step towards Trikuta Hills

Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board has shown deep commitment toward conservation and protection of environment and ecology of Trikuta Hills and has taken effective steps to increase the green cover in the area around the Holy Cave Shrine.
Governor N N Vohra, who is the Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, has been regularly reviewing the progress of all ongoing environmental protection programmes.
In a meeting held today, Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Chief Executive Officer of Shrine Board informed the Governor that the Forest Wing has brought more than 1200 hectares under afforestation activities and planted over 17.10 lakh saplings during the past over 7 years. The saplings planted include forest, horticulture, floriculture, medicinal and ornamental species. Of these, 2.48 lakh saplings of different species were planted during the 2015 monsoon plantation season, including 64,000 fruit plants. In addition, 2.50 lakh plants of varied species are being planted during the winter 2015-16 plantation season, which will raise the number of plants put in the ground to over 19.60 lakh. As a result of close monitoring, the survival rate of 80% to 90% is being ensured in all the plantation units. Emphasis is also being given for preserving germ plasm of local species of plants which are hardy, ornamental and provide shade. Such species are also being planted in a big way in the Yatra area for rapidly securing the green cover.
Chief Executive Officer informed that to implement the Greening Action Plan in a scientific manner, a dedicated Forest Wing of the Shrine Board with 74 staff members functions under the supervision of a senior IFS officer. This wing prepares an annual plan for undertaking various activities for the protection and conservation of the forest in the Shrine Board’s area. The Annual Greening Action Plan for the year 2015-16 involving an outlay of Rs. 2.48 crore was approved by the Shrine Board at its 56th Meeting. The Plan covers plantation, protection work, fire prevention measures, Lantana and weed clearance, etc.
Giving details of the plantation activities, the CEO further informed that in order to ensure diversity of indigenous and local plants in the greening scheme, high emphasis is being laid on planting broad leaf species.
To protect the fauna and flora in the Trikuta Hills, to improve biodiversity and to protect new plantations chain link fencing of 46.45 km length has been erected all along the Shrine Board’s boundry. The boundry fencing has not only protected the Board’s area from encroachment but also guarded it against biotic pressure on the green cover.
The Shrine Board has also set up a hi-tech Nursery spread over an area of about 2.5 acres at village Kunian, near Panthal with a production capacity of around 5 lakh plants per annum, to meet its annual plantation requirements. This has reduced the dependency on market purchases, also resulting in significant savings.

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