Thu, 23 Sep 2021

Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], July 31 (ANI): As Jammu and Kashmir aims to plant 1.30 crore saplings this year, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha launched 'Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive-2021' from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jammu on Friday.

The Lieutenant Governor planted a 'cupressus' sapling in the IIT Campus to mark the launch of this mega plantation drive.

The Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive initiative is in consonance with the National Forest Policy, 1988 and the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Policy, 2011 which envisage afforestation on all degraded and denuded lands in the Union Territory within and outside forests.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lieutenant Governor observed that the 'Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive' aims at creating a people's movement at a massive scale with the involvement of all stakeholders, particularly village panchayats, women, students, Urban Local Bodies, institutions, NGOs, and civil society.

"Our aim is to bring the two-third geographical area of Jammu and Kashmir under the forest and tree cover. The forest and tree cover in Jammu and Kashmir is about 55 per cent, which is substantially higher than the national average of 24.56 per cent," he said.

The Lieutenant Governor said that it is a matter of pride for everyone that while the present circumstances are posing a difficult challenge to the people at many places, the government machinery and the people of Jammu and Kashmir are discharging their responsibility towards the coming generation by preserving and strengthening natural wealth.

Sinha underlined the importance of taking science and ecology together on the path of development. "It is vital to ensure a balance between the development and conservation of our environment. There has never been a more urgent need to revive ecology than today."He expressed satisfaction over the initiation of the Green Jammu and Kashmir campaign by the Forest Department targeting to plant 130 lakh plants this year, in collaboration with schools, non-governmental institutions and Village Panchayat Plantation Committees (VPPCs) to mark the completion of 130 years of dedicated service of the department, which will contribute significantly in increasing the green cover in the UT.

"I am happy that the Green India Mission is being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir in the spirit of public participation which will bring economic benefits apart from improving the quality and quantity of forests in 320 villages," said the Lt Governor.

Appealing to every citizen must come forward to play an important part in the restoration of ecology, Sinha said: "Scientific findings show that this decade matters most in preventing catastrophic climate change and reducing biodiversity loss. The United Nations on June 5, 2021 launched a major ambitious program - the 'Decade of Ecosystem Restoration', which is a key step towards restoring the destroyed ecology.""If we fail to restore our ecology in the next ten years, at least one million species may become extinct in the coming times. As long as the ecological system is protected, we will be able to conserve our forests, rivers and lakes, mountains, meadows, fields and urban landscapes, which are also a source of wealth and health for the society", said the Lt Governor.

He asked the IIT Jammu administration to put dedicated efforts in taking eco-friendly initiatives so that the institution can join the Green Metric World Colleges competition on the basis of its Green Campus and Sustainability and can make its place in the top 50 rankings.

He also advised the IIT Faculty to install a bio-digester to convert the campus waste into energy.

"Whatever measures we are taking today to restore the ecology and reduce air pollution, plastic pollution, I believe that it will prove to be a boon for the coming generations whether it is in villages or in cities", he added,On the occasion, he handed over the cheques worth Rs 1.97 crores to various Village Panchayat Plantation Committees (VPPCs) as the proceeds of harvesting of mature trees.Appreciating the role of Social Forestry, the Lieutenant Governor exhorted the department as well as the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to work with renewed zeal and coordination to scale up the plantation activities for all the more encouraging results, thereby making PRIs truly empowered and self-reliant. (ANI)

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