Fifteen-Year Plan for Jatropha Plantations

INDIA – Beginning later this month, the jatropha crop will be planted across 30,000 acres in the arid districts of Bankura, Birbhum, West Midnapore and Purulia over the next 15 years.

Around 10 lakh saplings will be transplanted this year on 1,000 acres in Purulia, with the annual plantation target from next year pegged at 20 lakh saplings on 2,000 acres.

The drive, undertaken jointly by state-promoted West Bengal Wasteland Development Corporation (WBWDC) and private firm Sun Plant Agro Ltd, is in sync with the Centre’s Green India Mission to combat climate change by setting an ambitious target of afforestation and eco-restoration on 20 million hectares across India by 2020.

Speaking to The Times of India, WBWDC managing director and additional principal chief conservator of forests Rakesh Sinha said jatropha would be grown between rows of fast-growing pulp species of trees planted on 3,000 acres in Purulia this year. “We have planted nearly 16 lakh trees already.

“Jatropha plantation will be done between these rows. This will not only enhance the economic output from the land that has been lying non-productive, but will also enhance the climate change mitigation efforts by promoting the use of biofuel,” said Mr Sinha.