Trikuta Hills, housing the cave shrine of Mata Vaidhnodevi, has been planted with over 5.50 lakh saplings in the past four years for making the belt greener.
As a result of the directions issued by Chairman of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board N N Vohra, Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board (SMVDB) has planted over 5.50 lakh saplings, including forest, horticulture, floriculture, medicinal and ornamental species of plants during the last 4 years, a spokesman of SMVD said.
The initiative is aimed at conserving the environment and ecology and greening the Trikuta Hills and the tracks leading to the shrine.
In addition, 1.50 lakh saplings of different species of plants were planted during the monsoon plantation season of 2013, spokesman said, adding that as many as 1.50 lakh plants are being planted during the present winter plantation season, which will raise the number of plants put in the ground to 7 lakh.
CEO of SMVD Mandeep Bhandari said to generate in-house production of indigenous species of plants compatible to the local climatic conditions in the Trikuta Hills area, a multi-purpose nursery with a capacity to produce more than 2 lakh seedlings per year is being set up at Kunkuniyallan village, near Panthal by the Board.
In addition to the afforestation efforts, several measures aimed at preventing forest fires have been undertaken by the Forestry Wing of the Shrine Board, he said.
These include creation of fire lines particularly adjoining Adhkuwari, Hathimatha, Bhawan and Bhairon areas, and ensuring vigil on the ground during forest fire-prone season.
The chairman has also approved an eco-restoration plan for the area.
The plan, which is being executed in the current year, includes greening activities, watershed management and forest fire management.
The Shrine Board has also taken up the work of landscaping and developing of public park at Banganga. Under this project, view points and pathways are being constructed, besides creating a waterfall. The bathing ghat near Geeta Mandir at Banganga is also being renovated.
Another major initiative taken by the Shrine Board is training nullahs in the Trikuta Hills to check soil erosion in the area.