New Delhi/Gangtok, Aug.18 (ANI): Environmentally, Sikkim continues to be India's greenest state based on interpretation of satellite data.
According to the data, 3,359 square kilometers of the state, or 47.3 per cent is under forest cover.
This figure assumes significance when compared to the national average of 21 per cent.
In terms of forest canopy dense class, the state has 500 square kilometers under very dense forest cover, 2161 squre kilometers under moderately dense forest cover and 698 square kilometer under open forest cover.
The forested area in the state in these three categories is 7.05 per cent,30.45 per cent and 9.84 per cent respectively. The national average in comparison is 2.54 per cent, 9.76 per cent and 8.73 per cent respectively.
The forest cover of Sikkim which was 43.95 per cent in 1993, has now increased to 47.34 per cent in 2013.
A target has been fixed to bring an additional 1000 hectares of land under forest cover during 12th five year plan in the state with the financial target of Rs.3100.00 lakhs.
The state has achieved the distinction of being the greenest state in the country due to various protection and conservation measures like the Sikkim Green Mission, Ten Minutes to Earth and Smriti vans.
Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has played a significant role in ensuring majority green cover in the state.
The Sikkim Green Mission was launched by him in 2006. The services of state government departments, NGOs, environmentalists, women organizations and eco clubs were used to achieve the target of a Green Sikkim.
The state govt has spent around Rs. 10 crore on the Sikkim Green Mission, and so far, around 45 lakh indigenous trees, shrubs, herbs, climbers, creepers, conifers and green foliages,have been planted.
The "Ten Minutes to Earth" mission was launched in the year 2009.
Under this mission, 6,10,694 saplings were planted throughout the state in ten minutes, creating a new world plantation record.
This greenery has helped in the sequestration of 1400 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Now, every year, on June 25, ten minutes is dedicated for a mass plantation drive.
The state government provides free seedlings through distribution booths set up at every forest check post and other prime locations.
Around 15 lakhs sapling of various species have been planted under the programme during last five years.
This year, the state government organized a Paryavaran Mahotsav between June 15 and June 30, during which 2.66 lakh sapling of various species were planted.
Chief Minister Chamling has declared that this event will be organised every year at the same time.
As far as Smriti Vans are concerned, there are 40 of them in the state.
The state has another distinction-that of minimum diversion of 800 hectares of forest land for non-forestry purposes in the last 20 years.