Guwahati, April 29 (IANS): In a bid to enter the Guinness World Records, 100 people on Sunday planted 40,885 saplings within an hour near the Chirang Reserve Forest in Lower Assam.
They wanted to break the record of 26,422 saplings planted in an hour in a Northern Ireland park two years ago.
Between 11 am and 12 noon, 100 men from the State's Forest Department, Dogra Regiment and 135 Ecological Battalion (Territorial Army) planted the saplings on the banks of the Saralbhanga river. The event was video-graphed in the presence of three independent observers and the footage would now be sent to Guinness World Records, said C Ramesh Kumar, divisional forest officer of Haltugaon Forest Division under the Chirang Reserve Forest.
"We have contacted the Guinness authorities for recording the event. However, as per their norms, they advised us to engage independent observers from the area. We appointed three persons, including former Kokrajhar Kendriya Vidyalaya Principal of B Lal and former Kokrajhar DIET Principal C Brahma," Kumar told IANS. "Our objective is not just to establish a record. Our motto is 'plant a tree, save a life'. We want to highlight the loss of trees in our area and impress upon the civil society to do its duty to save the forests," he said.
The men carried out several rehearsals at the Dogra Regiment base in Kokrajhar to successfully complete the task, he said.
"We are hopeful of breaking Northern Ireland's record. The men targeted to plant 50,000 saplings but only 40,855 could be planted within the stipulated time," Brahma, one of independent observers, said.
"We are going to send the video for verification and hope they (Guinness authorities) declare the decision in one month," said Kumar.
In 2010, 100 men from the Ireland-Western Health and Social Care Trust One had planted 26,422 trees in an hour at the Gransha Park.
India's northeastern region has lost about 549 square km of forest cover despite a Supreme Court ban on unauthorised tree felling, says a 2011 Forest Survey of India report.