Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh today appealed to the citizens of the State to co-operate in protecting forests from fires.
In a message released today he added that Chhattisgarh is rich in precious forest reserves. There is 44 per cent forest cover in the State. It is the social and national responsibility of all concerned to conserve forests and make the State prosperous.
Chief Minister said that the livelihood of lakhs of forest-dwellers is solely dependent on forests. Tribals are seasonally employed for tendu patta, sal seeds, mahua,, ‘chironjee’ and procurement of minor forest produce.
Dr. Raman Singh said that during the summer months fires engulf forests due to multiple reasons. Migrants cook food and leave the burning woods in the forests itself. Smokers of bidis also throw away the butts in the densely forested areas. The invaluable forest reserves are lost forever.
Dr. Raman Singh said that the State is blessed with precious herbal trees. Even rare species of birds and animals are lost in forest fires. Forest management samities have 27 lakh 63 thousand members. Women comprise 14 lakh members.
The Forest Department allocates 15 per cent of the income it gets on the sale of wood and bamboo to the forest management samities.
An amount of Rs 301 crore had been allotted to the samities during the past 14 years. Besides lakhs of forest-dwellers are members of the 901 minor Forest produce co-operative samities.>