Bamboo project fails to take-off

KUMARHATTI: The Solan Forest Division ambitious project to regenerate bamboo forest on the 1267-hectare area of division has failed to take-off for want of an approval from concerned authorities. The project was planned after Dharampur forest range under the division covering this area witnessed flowering in bamboo forest on large scale.

The flowering that was noticed in February 2004, after a gap of 45 years spread fast in the following year. As a result the bamboo plants were completely dried up in almost 900 hectares area. The phenomenon had facilitated the progress of lantana and other wild weeds.

This new development had caused concerns among farmers community who feared to loose their arable land to these wild weeds. The below monsoon at that time had further slowed down the pace of bamboo regeneration. Though the bamboo was not an important part of rural agro economy here but its disappearance from scene could prove a set back to those whose livelihood was based on it.

To cope up the situation the division had drawn up a project of Rs 3.80 crore to fence the area besides facilitating bamboo plantation. The project was aimed to make closure and artificial regeneration of the forestlands, certain entry point activities such as improvement of access, water sources and micro-irrigation systems were planned under the project.

Initially the project had suffered at the hand of Ministry for Rural Development that termed it totally irrelevant. However later division did manage to convince the ministry about the importance of project. Besides plea to ministry, the division had roped in various agencies to arrange funds for process. The plea to funding was made to the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), the Ministry of Environment and Forest, the National Mission of Bamboo Application and the Himalayan Forestry Research Institute at Shimla.

However the things remained blocked for want to bulk funding required to launch the project effectively.

Hence lantana spread fast and bamboo disappeared from scene. However Mr. Y.P. Gupta, DFO Solan Forest Division said that it was later decided to push the project not only for one division but for whole state. The project was submitted at state level covering three forest circles in state, he said. The approval for project has been come and soon it would be launched, he asserted. He however denied any loss to bamboo forest due to delay in launching the project.

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