Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has urged the people to make afforestation a people’s movement so as to increase forest cover of the State. He was presiding over the 69th State Level Van Mahotsav at Churwadhar in Rajgarh area of Pachhad Assembly Constituency in Sirmour district.He said that 15 lakh sapling would be planted in the 596 selected places in the State with active participation of the people. He said that although about 67 per cent area of the State was covered with forests still lot more needed to be done. The State government was endeavouring that everyone adopts a tree as “Gotra Tree” and help to conserve and protect it. This would motivate the people particularly the younger generation to conserve our environment. He also urged the student to help in environmental conservation.Jai Ram Thakur said that the afforestation campaign should not be celebrated as a mere ceremonial occasion, but efforts should be made to ensure that the saplings planted grow up as trees so that green cover in the State could be increased. He said that Himalayas were the lungs of entire Indian subcontinent, therefore protecting and increasing forest cover was vital.The Chief Minister planted a sapling of Deodar and medicinal plant on the occasion. He also planted a sapling at Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry at Nauni in Solan District.He gave away prizes to the winners of the painting competition on afforestation on the occasion.Forest and Transport Minister Govind Thakur said that the government was committed to make Himachal Pradesh a green and clean state of the country for which afforestation would be taken up in a big way.Speaker, Vidhan Sabha Dr Rajiv Bindal, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Virender Kanwar, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr Rajiv Saizal, MP Virender Kashyap, MLAs Suresh Kashyap and Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Principal Chief Chief Conservator of Forests Dr GS Goraiya, Deputy Commissioner Sirmaur Lalit Jain were also present of the occasion among others.