Dinesh K Sharma, Editor

A unique initiative to save the environment: Pension is being given to 100-year-old trees in this state every month.

A unique initiative to save the environment: Pension is being given to 100-year-old trees in this state every month.

Bihar: A unique initiative has been taken to take care of old trees and create awareness about the protection of the environment in East Champaran of Bihar. A pension of Rs. 400 per month is being given to the trees which have completed their age here. Considering these trees as patrons, the district administration, in collaboration with the people, launched this unique campaign under the name of ‘Guardian Tree Pension Scheme’. The livelihood group is responsible for the care of the trees and they are protecting the trees from this amount.

The Champaran Sentinel Old Tree Campaign was launched in December 2021 on the initiative of the District Magistrate under which, trees older than 50 years are being marked as Guardian Trees. So far 10 thousand 837 old trees have been identified. Of these, pensions have been introduced for trees older than 100 years. In the first phase pension is being given to 50 trees from May 2022, whereas the local administration has planned to give such pension to 100 trees in the district.

The oldest of the pensioners are the 500-year-old Bohr, Pakora, and Pipple trees. District Program Officer (DPO) MGNREGA Amit Kumar Upadhyay said that the amount of pension was being given to an NGO group. It will be used for tree care, soil filling, brick fencing, irrigation, pesticide spraying, environmental awareness, and periodic programs under that scheme. The NGO group responsible for the care will have to issue a utilization certificate of the amount spent. The District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) has been given the responsibility of monitoring.

Funds are being collected with the help of the people and a  joint bank account of the Director of DRDA and DPO MGNREGA has been opened to collect the amount to be spent in the scheme. This includes personal donations, corporate social responsibility, and donations from socio-business organizations. Indian Oil Company Limited has provided Rs. 10 lakhs for this scheme.