Koraput, March 15 (LocalWire): Worried over timber mafia plundering its limited sandalwood reserves, Koraput has launched a massive plantation drive to restock the prized trees.
The district administration has joined hands with Jeypore forest division to raise 40,000 sandalwood saplings on a mission mode at the nurseries in Jeypore and Borigumma.
“Once the saplings grow in height, they will be planted in the premises of government offices and educational institutions,” said divisional forest officer Aswin Kumar Kar.
Kar said that rampant felling of trees by mafia has led to abrupt fall in sandalwood cover. “Hence, to boost their stock, a special project has been initiated with central funds,” Kar said.
The project also envisages relaxing trade norms so that farmers can start sandalwood plantation.
“Earlier, sandalwood growers were compelled to sell their stocks to the forest department. Now they can trade with any government recognized agencies,” Kar said.
“Sandalwood trees require minimum maintenance, but give higher returns. It will be very profitable for farmers,” he added.
Sandalwood trees mostly grow in Nandapur, Padwa, Lamataput, Ramagiri, Borigumma, Koraput and Jeypore areas of the district.
In a major haul in October 2018, forest officials had seized 388 kilograms of sandalwood from two illegal sandalwood traders in Padwa.