Guwahati, Sunday, August 9, 2015
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Plantation drive turns out to be farce
Staff Correspondent
 DIBRUGARH, Aug 8 - The recent attempt of the district administration to earn a place in the Limca Book of Records by planting more then twenty two thousand saplings on road sides of 57 km Moran-Naharkatia road under the MGNREGA scheme within shortest time is lately turning out to be a farce. More then half of the plants have died and maintenance of the surviving ones has been neglected.

The district administration with support from the people of the area along the road stretch had planted about 22,084 saplings in 22 minutes on July 7, 2015. Former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, former Minister Prithibi Majhi, Forest Minister Atuwa Munda, MLA Sarat Saikia and Parliamentary Secretary Jibontara Ghatowar were also part of the plantation drive initiated by Deputy Commissioner MS Manivannan.

Several were replaced recently but even the second saplings have died. The district administration has claimed that workers have been engaged to take care of the plants, but locals say that maintenance has not been done. “I have never seen workers taking care of the plants. Thousands have been replaced but more is still pending. If someone is engaged under MGNREGA, they should perform their job. ” Hemanta Gogoi, a social activist from Rajgarh told The Assam Tribune. Gogoi said that public money should not just be used for the sake of records.

It needs to be recalled that about Rs 61 lakh is being spent for the plantation along the Moran-Naharkatia raod. Environmentalist Joynal Abedin of Tinsukia, Fishery Biologist Dr Ranjita Bania of Sivasagar, Dr Nabajit Das, faculty of BH College of Howlee, Barpeta and Wildlife Researcher Dr Jihosuo Biswas from Guwahati were the appointed observers of the plantation event for Limca Book of Records.

Several are of the view that the planted saplings were destined to die as majority of the plants were almost adult while several were of about 5 ft heights. The saplings planted included species like Radhasura, Krishnasura, Nahor, Bokul, Kala Jamun etc. It needs to be stated here that the huge plantation drive along a road stretch was the first of its kind in the region.

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