9-year-old now face of Manipur green mission
A nine-year-old Manipuri girl who shed copious tears after two trees she planted were cut down has been named brand ambassador of the Chief Minister’s Green Manipur Mission.
Videos of Valentina Elangbam crying surfaced after two Gulmohar (Delonix regia) trees she planted four years ago near her home were felled during work to clean the banks of a canal.
The videos, dated August 3, were shot by her uncle, and went viral on social media, making an instant star of the Class V student of Amutombi Divine Life of Hiyanglam Makha Leikai in Kakching where she lives
The video came to the attention of the government too, and the Chief Minister of the state, N Biren Singh.
H Balkrishna, director of the state information and public relations department , said an order appointing her ambassador of the green mission was issued on Wednesday night “on the advice and initiative of the Chief Minister of Manipur.”
Launched on June 22 near Saheibung village in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district, the Chief Minister’s Green Manipur Mission is a move to restore greenery across Manipur. A brainchild of the chief minister, the mission was introduced to protect forests and plant trees in every village of the state.
Under the mission, an open gymnasium worth about Rs 5 to 6 lakh will be installed in each village willing to give at least 5 acres of land for planting trees.
According to the India State of Forests Report (ISFR 2017) released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change early year, Manipur registered an increase of 1.18% in forest cover of 263 sq kilometers in 2017. It was the third highest increase in India after Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. According to the report, Manipur’s forest area in 2017 was 17,346 sq km, which is 77.69% of the total area of the state.
In the video, a tearful Valentina is seen complaining in Manipuri that the trees she had planted had grown taller than her and shouldn’t have been felled.
Members of the Unique Wildlife Protection Committee, a local body that works on conservation, reached Valentina’s home on the afternoon of August 3 itself with a present for the little girl -- 20 saplings for plantation.
“She (Valentina) feels happy for getting recognition due to her love for trees. Valentina was excited when the news of her appointment was announced in a local TV network Wednesday night,” Monenkumar Elangbam, her uncle, said over the phone on Thursday.
Valentina could not be reached for comment as she was in school.
In a Twitter message on Wednesday night, chief minister Biren Singh appreciated Elangbam’s love for trees and said: “ Let’s follow her, save nature.”