Aiming to save the girl child and nurture her bond with nature, the West Bengal forest department has conceptualised project ‘Bonani’ (forest) envisioning girls turning ambassadors to protect the environment.
Bengal forest department’s Kharagpur division will launch the scheme in two subdivisions of West Midnapore district on Thursday to mark the start of Bon Mahotsav (forest festival).
Under ‘Bonani’, parents of every girl child born in the sub-divisional hospitals of Kharagpur and Ghatal in the district will be given a plant to care for.
“The tree should also grow along with the girl. A bond should develop between the girl child and the tree,” Anjan Guha, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Kharagpur.
“In rural areas, the birth of a girl child may not always be welcome. We want to encourage parents to view girls as our pride. They will be our ambassadors in protecting the trees and caring for them,” Guha said.
Further, the friendship would also blossom when the girl turns 18 and if parents need to fund her marriage.
“At the age of 18 when she is married, the tree can also aid financially. Each tree can yield Rs 30,000-40,000 when used commercially,” Guha said.
The hospitals have been asked to maintain a register and the forest department will compile data after each month.
“After five years, we will check how the girl and the tree are faring and they will be rewarded as well,” he added.