‘Only 2 pc of M’laya forest cover is dense’

Chief Secretary PBO Warjri releases a book titled Green Economics in India during the special lecture on ‘ Unlocking Green Opportunities’ in city on Monday. (ST)

SHILLONG: “Out of the 77 per cent forest cover in Meghalaya, only two per cent is very-dense-forest and 45 per cent is moderate-forest, while the rest falls under the category of open-forest which is hardly a forest,” Principal Secretary in-charge Forest and Environment Department M S Rao said.

“We have been trying to protect the forest cover by adopting pre-conditions put forth before any proposed projects to be set up in the state,” Rao said, adding “the state also has a stringent set of laws in terms of air, water, environment protection and so on.”

Rao said this while speaking as one of the panelists during the Special Lecture on “unlocking green opportunities” organised by the Meghalaya Economic Association in city on Monday.

While pointing out with the State having only two per cent under the category forest, Principal Secretary in charge Forest and Environment said that the State has taken steps to improve the quality of forest cover in the State. “The Government has completed mapping of the forest cover in the state even as steps has been taken for proper management of forests,” he said.

“We have set pre-conditions before proposing any project to protect the forest cover in the State. We would like to understand the ground reality before proposing any project to protect any forest area,” he said.

“Despite the State having stringent laws to protect various areas, the major drawback is that there is no enforcement of these laws,” Rao said.

Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Chief Secretary PBO Warjri said government is very much concerned about the environment, loss of aquatic lives due to pollution, deforestation that is going on for so many years.

Asserting the importance of active public participation in protection of environment, Warjri said, “The Mission Green of the government is an effort not only just to protect forest but make the people conscious on the option to preserve the environment.”

The chief secretary also release a book entitled – “Green Economy in India”.

A special lecture on the topic was also presented by the Director Business Development Wildlife Works, San Francisco USA, Rachel O’Reilly.