Gurgaon: Environment minister, CM ask people to plant two crore saplings within a year
Union minister of environment, forest and climate change Dr Harsh Vardhan and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar urged people to plant two crore saplings within a year to protect the Aravallis.
They were speaking at an event to mark the World Day to Combat Desertification, at Bhondsi on Saturday.
The appeal by the two leaders follows a survey by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) which showed that 12 vegetation gaps have appeared in the Aravallis and pointed to its desertification.
“Everyone should contribute to the environment and reduce carbon footprint. This will reduce global warming, which is a big concern globally,” Dr Vardhan said.
“Planting a sapling and taking care of it is not a huge responsibility at all,” he added.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar emphasised on the need to create awareness about the Aravallis. He said that the Aravalli hills are under threat due to illegal mining, felling of trees and pressure from urbanisation. About 32% of the total land area in the country is affected by land degradation, which is a major concern, he said.
The Aravalli range has a significant role in combating desertification as it is the oldest mountain fold in India and runs from Delhi to Rajasthan, Khattar said, adding that the plan is to revive the existing programmes and protect the forest area.
“As many as 7,797 wardens and 7,800 volunteers will be deployed in forest areas to protect the Aravallis and spread awareness,” Khattar said. Asked about the Mangarbani grove, he said that the area comes under ‘protected zone’ and soon steps will be taken to protect it.
The state has less than 4% of forest cover and the government aims to increase this to 10% over the next three years.
However, environmental activists claim that isolated events, such as World Day to Combat Desertification, fail to address environmental issues. “The government should keep all premission related to felling of trees, construction, real estate and change of land use, on hold till an order from Supreme Court clarifies the definition of forest areas in the state,” said Chetan Agarwal, environmentalist.
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday laid foundation stones of projects worth ₹112 crore in Bilaspur district on Monday. Addressing a meeting at Ghawandal Chowk, the CM announced that a government degree college will be opened at Swarghat in Naina Devi assembly segment. The CM said the government will take over Shakti Senior Secondary School, Naina Devi and open a Primary Education Block office in Naina Devi.
With the monsoon likely to hit Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday, the Indian Meteorological Department has issued a four-day yellow alert for heavy rainfall coupled with thunderstorms in 10 districts of the state, barring Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti. Shimla meteorological centre director Surender Paul said, “Thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and gusty winds blowing at a speed of 30- 40km/hr are expected in the hill state between June 28 and July 1.”
From history sheeters to an engineer, cricket organiser, transporter, railway clerk, and income tax officer around 171 people from different walks of life have been arrested in the Himachal Pradesh constable recruitment case so far, officials said on Monday. Director general of police Sanjay Kundu said the 171 persons arrested include 116 candidates, fathers of nine candidates, and 46 agents, of which 21 were from the hill state, while 25 were from other states.
In a major health-infrastructure boost for Mohali, the AAP-led Punjab government in its maiden budget on Monday announced another super-specialty medical institute for the district. Finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema, while presenting the Punjab budget, also said the Punjab government aimed to make Mohali a hub of industry and information technology. As announced, the Punjab government will set up the state-of-the-art “Punjab Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences” at Mohali.
A 55-year-old man became the latest victim of Covid-19 in Mohali on Monday, even as tricity's active cases once again crossed the 1000 mark after over four months. The deceased patient, a resident of Kakoli Chhat, Mohali, was also suffering from sepsis and died at the civil hospital in Phase 6. Amid the rising cases, this was the third Covid death in Mohali district in the past 15 days.