Mandi: The afforestation campaign must be made a mass movement by ensuring peoples participation to achieve the desired results. This was stated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the 70th State Level Van Mahotasav held at Banala (Panarsa) area of Mandi district today.
Jai Ram Thakur said that this year, a target has been fixed to plant 25 lakh saplings including medicinal, broadleaf and fruits plants etc. in different parts of the state during the five-day campaign and this target could be achieved with the active cooperation of the people. This would not only help in increasing the forest cover but also in meeting out the fodder demand besides providing sufficient food for wild animals.
The Chief Minister said that we should go for mass afforestation to save ecology and environment. He said that farming practices such as slash and burn farming, overgrazing by cattle and shifting agriculture were harmful to the environment and we must keep all these practices under control.
He thanked the people of the State for providing wholehearted support to the BJP in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. He said that the vote share of the BJP was highest in the country and Kangra Parliamentary seat the vote share was 72 percent again highest in the country. He said that all the opposition leaders were still in shock due to this unprecedented victory of the BJP in the Lok Sabha. This is a befitting reply by the people of the State has given to the arrogant opposition leaders of the State.
Chief Minister said that the one and a half year tenure of the present state government has been full of achievements and accomplishments. The Jan Manch programme is proving as a boon to the people as all their grievances are being redressed at their door-steps.
Jai Ram Thakur said that forest fires were the most common and deadly cause of loss of forests and there was need to take precautions by making fire lanes, clearing out dry leaves and trees etc.
He said that the state government was endeavouring to ensure maximum participation of farmers in afforestation and related activities which would also help in strengthening their economy. The Vidhayarthi Van Mitr Yojna has been started in the state to sensitise the students regarding afforestation and motivating them to plant a sapling in their school campus and ensure its care and survival.
Jai Ram Thakur directed the forest officers to ensure proper maintenance of forest rest houses so that they could be used to promote eco-tourism. This would also help in providing opportunity to the tourists to enjoy the natural bounty of the state. He also directed the forest employees to ensure survival of the saplings they have planted.
The Chief Minister planted a sapling of Punica Granatun (Dadoo) on the occasion and distributed prizes to the officers and officials of Forest department, individuals and NGOs for commendable service in afforestation.
He released a book “Avifauna in Himachal Pradesh” brought out by the Wild wife Wing of the Forest department.