Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday said that Jammu and Kashmir has one of the most diverse forest areas in the country with 55 percent forest and green cover.
“It is in the interest of environment and our future generations to synergise development with the natural resources for sustainable development,” said Sinha addressing the gathering at the launch the Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive 2023-24 from IIM Jammu.
The Lt Governor planted a tree sapling in the Campus to mark the occasion.
He congratulated the Forests Department, IIM Jammu, Village Panchayat Plantation Committees and all the stakeholders for the launch of the mega plantation drive.
“Green J&K Drive has become a major contributor to increasing the green cover of J&K, strengthening our ecology and building a healthier society. In the last 3 years, we have been able to plant more than 4 crore saplings and the target for this year is to plant 1.75 crore plants to ensure ecological security,” the Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor highlighted the need to protect, preserve and restore ecology and biodiversity for sustainable living.
There is a saying that God forgives always, men forgive sometimes but nature never forgives. It is high time we realize that our rights over natural resources are temporary. We have to respect and restore the delicate balance between economic development and conservation of forests and environment, he said.
At IIM Jammu, the Lt Governor shared the key initiatives of the UT Administration aimed at ecological conservation and protection of natural resources.
“Sustainable Development and Environment Conservation is our priority. Protection of natural resources is in the DNA of our society, our culture. With the whole of government and whole of society approach, we are making honest efforts to address the challenges of climate change,” the Lt Governor said.
17 Nagar Vans are being established near cities and towns. It will enhance the green cover in Urban and Peri-Urban Areas to provide a clean and healthy environment to the dwellers of Urban Centres. It is also being ensured that the city forests are established in all urban local bodies, he added.
The Lt Governor said the environmental protection awareness campaigns have generated a sense of responsibility among the people and there is a growing realization that nature is the only lifeline for human existence.
Addressing the gathering, the Lt Governor called upon the Premier Education Institutions of J&K to take the lead in environmental protection campaigns.
The next five years will be crucial. The Campuses of our premier educational institutions should be transformed into Green Campus. We need the cooperation and support of all the elected representatives, youth and the people of J&K, the Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor commended the endeavour of IIM Jammu for planting 10,000 trees around the campus and made valuable suggestions to IIM Jammu to make the campus environment friendly.
He advised the IIM Jammu to install solar power to reduce the carbon footprint, bio-digester and plantation of medicinal plants in the campus and run similar campaigns in nearby villages with the help of students.
He further suggested the constitution of the Green Campus Committee, having an Annual Green Campus Plan and setting up a Biodiversity Park in the campus.
The Lt Governor called upon the students to work with Gram Panchayat, organizations, urban local bodies which will improve the quality and quantity of natural resources and provide economic benefits to the local people.
The Lt Governor directed the Higher Education Department to come out with the green ranking of higher educational institutions of Union Territory.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor handed over cheques from Village Funds to members of Village Panchayat Plantation Committees. He impressed on the Sarpanches for utilizing the funds for public welfare and re-invest the amount in planting more trees.
He launched the multilingual theme song of Green J&K Drive and Har Gaon Haryali and also released publications on Slope Stabilization, Green Slopes for Stable roads and Jan- Bhagidari-II and a short documentary on Van Sanrakshan.
Interacting with the media persons on the sidelines of the event, the Lt Governor reiterated the commitment of the UT Administration to dismantle the terror ecosystem.
“We are following the policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and the J&K Administration is determined and committed to take stringent action against those associated with the terror ecosystem or facilitating terrorist, secessionist activities,” the Lt Governor said.
360-degree security mechanism has been strengthened in Jammu Division and all efforts are being made by the security grid to eliminate the terrorists’ support system, he added.
Speaking on the issue of Sarore Toll Plaza, the Lt Governor said that the concern of the people is genuine. I have discussed the issue with the Chairman NHAI and the matter will be resolved in the coming days, he added.
Rajinder Sharma, Mayor, Jammu Municipal Corporation; Prof BS Sahay, Director IIM Jammu; Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary, Forests; Roshan Jaggi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests; Ramesh Kumar, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; PRI members; senior officials, faculty members of IIM Jammu and students were present.