Himachal Pradesh State Red Cross Society will launch a plantation drive in the name of "Hariyali Utsav" from 4th August to the district headquarters upto sub-division level, which will be inaugurated by the Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar from Thunag in Mandi district. Along with this, “Pathshala Ayush Vatika” program will also be started in 200 selected schools of the state on 6th August from Mashobra in Shimla district.
The Governor who is also the President of the State Red Cross disclosed this in a meeting with all the Deputy Commissioners of the State who are Chairman of Red Cross at district level through video conferencing from New Delhi, today. Dr. Sadhna Thakur, Chairperson, State Red Cross Hospital Welfare Section and Member of the Indian Red Cross Management Committee also attended the virtual meeting.
On the occasion, the Governor said, “This being the year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the focus is on involving common citizens and students in fighting climate change. Underlying principle is to plant and then also protect the young plants so that they mature into full fledged trees. This will be our gratitude to mother nature”.
He urged them to take the campaign seriously and ensure their survival. He added that plantation should be done on the basis of plantation capacity and their viability. He directed the DCs to identify suitable spots in consultation with the forest department officers at the District Head Quarter and at Sub-divisional level by the SDMs in consultation with the concerned Divisional Forest Officer/ Assistant Conservator of Forests as per availability.
He also asked them to maintain a record of the saplings. He said that the program should be organized like a festival to keep people aware. He said that 'seed balls' would also be included in the program additionally.The Governor said that the purpose of developing herbal vatika in 200 schools was to inculcate amongst the young minds a concern for the environment, awareness about the traditional Ayurvedic knowledge and sensitivity towards care and protection of the plants.
He said that before plantation, motivating sessions would be organised wherein the importance of Azadi ka amrit mahotsav with reference to climate change and what could be the individual contribution for improving the green cover, to be discussed.
He said that under “Pathshala Ayush Vatika” program around 50 percent of total available plants would be planted in the identified school premises where the concerned school management would ensure upkeep and protection of the plants so planted by giving responsibility to individual students and keeping record of the same in a register to be maintained by the school nodal teacher.
He added that remaining plants would be distributed amongst the students with clear instructions to plant them at home or some other place of their choice. He said that teachers or nodal officers may take periodical reports from the students about the plant progress. The Education, Forest and Ayush department would issue necessary directions to its field agencies in this regard, he added.
Dr. Sadhna Thakur thanked the Governor for initiating the drive by involving Red Cross and urged the Red Cross volunteers to wear RC Jacket which would be helpful in increasing numbers of members in the Red Cross.While conducting the proceeding, Rajesh Thakur Secretary to Governor, apprised that on 4th August under Hariyali Utsav afforestation drive would be held at Thunag with the involvement of local people especially Yuvak Mandals, Mahila Mandals and Red Cross volunteers and this would be followed by celebration of annual function of the college.
At the same time similar plantation drives would be held all-over the state by involving the Red Cross volunteers in all district HQs and in Sub-divisions.He said that upto 50 percent of Red Cross funds collected by the district or sub-division within the current financial year may be utilised for the purpose of providing refreshments to the participants of this exercise.