Forest: Natural Resource Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL) handed over 2,178 acres of tree plantations to the forests department on November 9.

Druk Holding Investment chairman Dasho Sangay Khandu handed over the plantations in the seven dzongkhags over to agriculture secretary Tenzin Dendup commemorating the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

From a total of 4,207 acres of recent plantations, the NRDCL handed over 2,178 acres to the forestry department.

The Wang region has the highest plantation area of 1,510 acres followed by Rinpung region with 1,374 acres.

Agriculture secretary Tenzin Dendup said that it was a befitting tribute to the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

This is the first time that such a handing taking over of plantations was done.

While the country is acclaimed as a champion in environment conservation, the secretary said, it’s high time to take stock of what was done and the present situation.

Agriculture and forests secretary Tenzin Dendup, said, “As we use timber in house construction, most of the raw materials used being timber, we have to make best use of the available resources.”

Druk Holding Investment chairman Sangay Khandu said that the corporation has a unique mandate of making natural resources affordable, and accessible without profit being a priority of its business.

He said that the DHI has invested Nu 15 million in the company to strengthen the institution so that services provided are affordable to the public.

He said that the forestry department could give the ownership of the forests to the corporation so that the resources are distributed to the people who deserve them the most and are affordable.

NRDCL each year invests Nu 5 million in plantations in about 60 acres of forest management units or barren land, which has been a continued process. It has the mandate to replant in areas where they harvested timber.

He lauded the forestry sector’s efforts in increasing the forest cover from 60 to more than 70 percent in the past decades despite continued harvesting of timber.

The challenge remains in curbing wastage of 25-30 percent in the sawmills.

Tshering Palden