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  Most saplings planted in one day-world record set by Assam villagers

  CHAUPAKHI, (Assam), India
-- Around 300 people including government officials, NGO workers and residents of Chautaki Village in Assam's Bongaigaon district planted 284,000 saplings, setting the world record for the Most saplings planted in one day.
  Photo: Villagers could be seen toiling away, as they planted saplings of various plants like guava, teak, neem, in an area spread over 31.5 hectares of land.  
  (enlarge photo)

  The attempt was started on the afternoon of July 11 and continued till next day, during which a record 284, 000 saplings were planted by the villagers.

  The plantation drive was carried out under ENREGA project (Govt Project) at a cost of rupees 3.4 million The Grand project was made successful with the help of Government officials, NGOs and Villagers.  

  An independent observer from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was called into oversee the entire activity.

  "I have been invited as an independent observer to this whole world attempt of Book Of World Record of plantation of around 300, 000 saplings within 24 hours in this Chautaki area. And I'm very happy to see that the whole exercise was done meticulously according to the guidelines set by the World Heritage Committee," said Surajeet Baruah, observer and official from WWF.

   Villagers also wanted to preserve environment by planting saplings.

  Most of the trees are fruit-bearing and the villagers are meant to benefit from the plantation.

   Jihosuo Biswas of Primate Research Centre, who is also observer in the drive, said the tree species selected for the plantation is a judicious mix of both fruit and timber varieties and would come as an immense help to the villagers who made it possible.

  It has cost the government a little more than thirty lakh rupees under a rural employment scheme. In a state where only twenty per cent of forest cover remains, more and more villages could follow such afforestation programmes.

  The man behind motivating the Chaupakhi villagers for plantation drive was M.S. Manivannam, sub-divisional officer (civil) of North Salmara, who incidentally is from Tamil Nadu.

  Manivannan a young IAS officer in his first posting in Assam's Bongaigaon district was inspired by the story of how a natural wall of 80,000 trees saved Naluvebapatty the only village in Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to survive the tsunami of 2004.

  He told reporters: "Basically our purpose was also aimed at to involve the villagers in both eco-conservation and income generation activities. As we found a vast empty plot of land, we thought why not try out for tree plantation which has both eco-conservation and economic values. Moreover, the villagers can also get engaged under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act."   

   The previous world record for planting saplings was from Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam district, when 254, 000 saplings were planted in a day.   

  Thursday, July 17, 2008

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