Haryana to confer State Vriksh Mitra Award for those working to increase forest cover

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The persons or agencies doing outstanding works in increasing the forest cover of the state would be conferred with “State Vriksh Mitra Award”, this was announced by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal on Friday on the occasion of Van Mahotsava.

The Chief Minister was speaking at a State Level Van Mahotsava celebrations organised at village Budhpur in district Rewari on Friday.

Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal being presented with a mace as a mark of respect at 67th State Level Van Mahotsav celebrations at Bhudhpur in district Rewari on Friday

Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal being presented with a mace as a mark of respect at 67th State Level Van Mahotsav celebrations at Bhudhpur in district Rewari on Friday

He said that in addition, another scheme known as “Har Gaon Pedon Ki Chanv” was being launched for rehabilitation of traditional trees like Jal, Rohera, France, Jand and others which would be planted on three to five acres of Panchayat land after obtaining consent from concerned Panchayats.

Manohar Lal said that our ancestors had given us a gift of clean environment and it was our responsibility that each one of us plant trees in order to make ‘Har Ghar Hariyali Yojana’ plantation scheme of the state, a grand success. Under the scheme, 2.88 lakh saplings of different species have been planted throughout the state on Friday. He appealed to the people to plant one sapling each for environment preservation.

The Chief Minister said that forest cover could be increased in Shivalik and Aravalli Hills and by saving every drop of water, maximise the plantation of plants. Trees are very important for the survival of wildlife and forests. He said that the number of vultures is declining day by day throughout the world, which is a matter of great concern. He said that the Forest Department was formulating schemes to conserve wildlife species which are vanishing. Haryana is the first state in the country to undertake vulture conservation at a centre. Under the vulture conservation breeding programme in the state, two Himalayan Griffon vultures have been released in June this year for the first time in the history of vulture conservation. He appealed to the people to cooperate in stopping use of diclofenace which causes death of vultures.

He said that the state government was committed to the conservation and development of environment in the state and is therefore, putting all efforts to increase tree cover by planting trees wherever possible. It is with this view that Haryana Forest Department has chosen ‘Van Vridhi Jal Smridhi’ as the core theme for the activities to be implemented during 2016-2017. Accordingly, Haryana Forest Department would plant 1.75 crore plants covering about 22,500 hectares this year including twelve lakhs under ‘Har Ghar Hariyali scheme’. This scheme is the ambitious plantation scheme of the state, under which 2.88 lakh plants of different species have been planted.

On the occasion of Van Mahotsava, seven lakh plants were planted in the state, of which five lakh have been planted by the women. In general, mostly indigenous plant species were planted. The Chief Minister said that under Har Ghar Hariyali programme, mostly superior grafted fruit plants would be supplied to the people for planting in their homes with the twin objectives of increasing greenery and also to provide fresh fruits to the people at their door steps for meeting their nutritional needs. He said that it was worth mentioning that Kanhaiyya Lal Manik Lal Munshi, the then Agriculture and Food Minister, Government of India celebrated first Van Mahotsava by planting trees on large scale in July 1950.

He said that Haryana Forest Department had recently signed agreements with Indian Railways Administration and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for greenery, beautification, aesthetic value, shade and also to produce wood. The salient features of these agreements are that the plantations on Railways/ NHAI lands would be raised, managed and shared jointly by Haryana Forest Department and Railways Administration/ NHAI.

Rao Narbir Singh, Forest Minister said that Haryana Forest Department is working on integrated approach for conserving all components of environment. In view of this, the Department is creating earthen water harvesting-cum-silt retention dams in Shivaliks and Aravallis for the conservation of soil and water and improve the ecology of the area. He further said that rare, endangered and threatened native species such as Jaal, Miswak, Harar, Goondni, Kainth and Dhok are being conserved.

The Minister of State for Forests, Karan Dev Kamboj, said that in the past Haryana was known for its lush green wealth and animals like lion, tiger, leopard and deer roamed  freely. Majestic Gondawan and Great Indian Bustard flew freely in the grasslands of Aravalli area. This bird is now locally extinct from Haryana.  He called upon the people to participate and cooperate fully in government schemes to restore the past glory of the state. He also urged to the people to plant at least one tree in their lives for better tomorrow.

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