Express News Service

RANCHI:  In a unique initiative of the Jharkhand government, more than 60-acre vacant land under the state Assembly is being developed as an orchard of fruit-bearing trees.

Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahto on Monday inaugurated a plantation drive of more than 650 trees within the premises of the Jharkhand Assembly.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who had first floated the idea, has said a mechanism should be developed in such a way that the entire cost of the Assembly building’s maintenance could be covered from the fund generated from selling fruits of the diverse variety of trees.

The chief minister wants to develop the Assembly in the self-sustaining mode. 

Speaker Rabindranath Mahto on Monday planted saplings provided by the state forest department.

“It is an effort to monetise the orchard so that the income thus generated could be used for the maintenance of the Assembly,” said the  Jharkhand Speaker.

“The 650 saplings include six varieties of mango along with that of guava, litchi and jackfruit,” said Divisional Forest Officer (Social Forestry) MP Dev. More than 100 saplings were planted on Monday, while the rest of the saplings will be planted in a day or two, he added.

More than 15,000 saplings of all varieties, including 3,000 fruit-bearing and timber variety trees like teak, mahogany, sal etc will be planted outside the premises of the Assembly.

On the way to the Assembly building, 200 saplings of flower-bearing trees have already been planted for beautification, said the DFO.

The state forest department on the occasion of Van Mahotsav on July 13 had set a target of planting 1.67 crore saplings. In Ranchi alone, more than one lakh saplings will be planted. 

During the launch ceremony, the Jharkhand chief minister had directed forest officials to roll out plantation drives on unused and vacant government land.

Over 15,000 saplings to be planted

While fruit-bearing trees will get focus in the Assembly complex, over 15,000 saplings of all varieties, including 3,000 fruit-bearing and timber variety trees like teak, mahogany, sal, will be planted outside the premises of the House.