Chhatisgarh is well on its way to accomplishing its objective of creating the nation's largest-ever artificial forest on barren land. The vast area would include the abandoned and non-functional mining belt in Durg district, about 55 km from the state capital Raipur. The massive initiative will makeover the unproductive and mined out areas into a natural habitat of jungles stretching across 3,777 acres. One thousand one hundred twenty acres of the total land has so far been transformed into a forest. The state forest department planted 83,000 saplings of several species, including medicinal value, in 895 acres under a special drive.
The Jan Van Programme
The Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also planted a banyan sapling as a symbolic gesture during his inspection. Titled the Jan Van Programme, the project's entire cost is cited to be ₹ 3.37 crore. The New Indian Express quoted the state Principal Chief Conservative of Forests Rakesh Chaturvedi, "It's a new concept based on environment conservation and been executed with Miyawaki, a Japanese technique that helps in creating dense self-sustaining native forest where the plants as natural and multi-layered grow much faster (around 10 times). He further mentioned that the project has been started at the behest of the Chief Minister and would be India's most extensive artificial forest.
Transforming To An Ethnic-Tourism Site
Nearly 44 per cent of land in the state is under forest cover, and there is no shortage of abandoned mines. Huge water reservoirs are created inside the forest because the excavated sites of the mines were mostly of dolomite-limestones. Moreover, the area serves as a habitat for birds because of a wetland in the region. The plan for the Nandini region in the Durg district is to develop it as an ethnic-tourism site, including landscaping, promotion of water sports, and cottages for stay.
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