Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government is all set to set a new world record by planting 25 crore trees in a massive plantation drive called “Van Mahotsav”.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath kicked off the drive by planting a sapling in Kukrail reserve forest on Sunday morning.

Adityanath said, “At the same time, we have to fight the global pandemic as well. During this plantation programme, adherence to social distancing can be clearly seen. This is a good effort and all of us can organise big events while adhering to social distancing. This event is a witness to this. By following the treatment and prevention protocol during this global pandemic, we can be a part of the Van Mahotsav.”

He added that so far, over 5.30 crore saplings have been planted in the state and the number is increasing.

“The Van Mahotsav has set a target of planting 25 crore saplings in the state. Last year, a target of planting 22 crore saplings was fixed. After that, each plant was geo-tagged, so that it could remain safe…,” Adityanath said.

The chief minister has instructed the government departments involved to ensure that social distancing is followed during the plantation drive.

Slogans like "Do gaz ki doori, mask zaroori" and "Corona harega, desh jeetega" have been put up at all plantation sites.

The state is also eyeing another record this time by planting more than 150 species of trees at two to three sites in Lucknow division. More than 26 lakh trees are being planted in Lucknow alone.

Sources in the forest department said, "A command centre has been set up at the forest department headquarters to compile the data on plantation every hour or two."

Plantation would be done at more than 8.7 lakh sites in the state and each site has been geo-tagged.

District-level committees headed by district magistrates are overseeing the plantation drive.

The beneficiaries of Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna have been provided with five saplings each as part of the drive.

The drive also aims at curbing malnourishment among women and children. To achieve the objective, one ''sahjan'' tree will be planted in every rural household.

More than 2.2 crore trees are being planted on the riverbanks, including those of rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Gomti, Rapti, Ghaghara, Saryu, Sharda, Tamsa, Varuna and Betwa.

The maximum number of trees -- 67 lakh -- are being planted on the banks of the Ganga in all 27 districts where the river flows by.

The forest department will plant 10 crore trees and the remaining 26 government departments will plant 15 crore trees.