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`Save sandalwood tree' rally to tour district on April 17, 18

Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA: The vehicle rally as part of the `save sandal tree' campaign, jointly sponsored by the Forest department and various environmental organisations, will tour the hill district of Pathanamthitta on April 17 and 18.

Addressing a press conference here today, the district organising committee chairman, N. K. Sukumaran Nair and the Assistant Conservator of Forests, R. Rajendran, said that the vehicle rally, led by Peruvanthanam John as part of the awareness campaign on sandalwood tree protection, will be accorded a rousing reception at Adoor on April 17 afternoon. MPs and MLAs will also address the public meeting organised in Kozhencherry on April 17 afternoon.

Various environmentalists will address the corner meetings to be held as part of reception to the rally at Konni, Pathanamthitta and Kozhencherry the same day afternoon.

A public meeting will also be held in Thiruvalla town before the rally enters Kottayam district.

The eco groups and other organisations co-sponsoring the campaign in the district are the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, the Pampa Parirakshana Samiti, the Amrutha Green Front, the Viswadarshanam Centre for Nature and Humanity, the Red Cross Society of India, Samskriti and the local self-governments, according to Mr. Rajendran. Mr. Nair also called upon the Government to take effective steps to preserve Kerala's rich sandalwood wealth at Marayur.

As per the report submitted by the Central Empowered Committee on February 24, the Marayur forests housed a total of 1,86,594 sandalwood trees in 1987-'88.

However, the records of the Forest department shows that this has been reduced to a mere 58,251 trees by 2004, Mr Nair said.

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