Jammu, August 20: Underscoring the imperative of safeguarding and revitalizing the region's ecology and biodiversity for sustainable living, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said that with 55% forest and green cover, J&K possesses diverse forest areas in the nation.
“Balancing development with natural resources is essential for the environment and the well-being of future generations,” he emphasized.
Launching the Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive 2023-24 from the premises of IIM Jammu earlier today, the Lt. Governor planted a tree sapling on the campus as a symbolic gesture.
During his address, the Lt. Governor commended the collaborative efforts of the Forests Department, IIM Jammu, Village Panchayat Plantation Committees, and all stakeholders for the launch of this ambitious plantation initiative. He highlighted the substantial contribution of the Green J&K Drive in bolstering the region's green cover and fostering a healthier environment.
“Over the past three years, more than 4 crore saplings have been planted, and the target for this year is to plant 1.75 crore plants to ensure ecological stability,” he said.
Addressing the gathering, the Lt. Governor discussed the UT Administration's strategies to preserve natural resources and promote ecological conservation. He highlighted the establishment of 17 Nagar Vans near cities and towns to enhance urban and peri-urban greenery. This endeavor aims to provide clean and healthy surroundings to urban dwellers.
Expressing satisfaction over the growing environmental awareness, Lt. Governor Sinha called upon premier educational institutions in J&K to lead environmental protection campaigns. He urged them to transform their campuses into green spaces in the coming five years, urging cooperation from elected representatives, youth, and the public.
The Lt. Governor applauded IIM Jammu for planting 10,000 trees around its campus and offered valuable recommendations for creating an environmentally friendly campus. He advised the institution to adopt solar power solutions, implement bio-digesters, cultivate medicinal plants, and extend similar campaigns to neighboring villages through student involvement.
He also suggested formation of a Green Campus Committee, an Annual Green Campus Plan, and the establishment of a Biodiversity Park on the campus.
Lt. Governor Sinha encouraged students to collaborate with Gram Panchayats, organizations, and urban local bodies to enhance natural resource quality and quantity, ultimately benefiting local communities.
On the occasion, the Lt. Governor disbursed cheques from Village Funds to members of Village Panchayat Plantation Committees, urging proper utilization for public welfare and tree plantation.
Lt. Governor Sinha launched the multilingual theme song of the Green J&K Drive and "Har Gaon Haryali." He also released publications on Slope Stabilization, Green Slopes for Stable Roads, Jan-Bhagidari-II, and a short documentary on Van Sanrakshan.
In response to concerns regarding the Sarore Toll Plaza, the Lt. Governor assured that he has discussed the issue with the Chairman of NHAI, and a resolution is expected in the near future.
Among those present included Rajinder Sharma, Mayor of Jammu Municipal Corporation; Prof. BS Sahay, Director of 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.