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ITC plans to cover 1.50 lakh hectares under social forestry
The Hindu Business Line - 07 Mar 2011

Conglomerate ITC Ltd is aiming for over 30 per cent increase in the area covered under its social forestry programme in the next five years and touch a total of 1.50 lakh hectares.

Under its social and farm forestry programme, the company so far covered 1.15 lakh hectares, with 467 million saplings planted, providing over 50 million man-days of employment.

A senior company official said ITC is expanding its pulpwood plantation by at least 10,000 hectares a year. "Through sustained research and community engagements, ITC has supported millions of sustainable livelihoods and the creation of a large green cover that has built meaningful value for the society and the nation," ITC Executive Director Mr Pradeep Dhobale said.

Besides, ITC is also emphasising on its watershed development programmes and is aiming to cover over one lakh hectares in the next 5 years.

At present, ITC’s watershed development programme covers 56,000 hectares. It has also created around 3,000 water harvesting structures.

The company’s paperboards and speciality papers division, which caters to a wide spectrum of packaging, writing and printing paper requirements, has four manufacturing units at present, with a total capacity of 5.5 lakh tonnes per annum.

A decade and a half ago, ITC was constrained from scaling up its business to achieve economic scales for want of cost effective access to fibre. Since then it had decided to focus on social forestry.

ITC, which has also taken up rural retail initiative e-Choupal, has also been encouraging farmers with research and development efforts in creating disease resistant, high yielding clones to get higher yields in a shorter time.

It also makes available high-yielding, disease free clonal planting stock developed through Tree Improvement research at its Bhadrachalam unit.

ITC is one of India's foremost private sector companies and a conglomerate with interests in FMCG, hotels, paperboards and packaging, agri business and information technology.

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