Port Blair, Mar. 14: The six-month long Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) organized by the Zoological Survey of India, A&N Regional Centre, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India culminated with a valedictory function held at the hall of ZSI here this morning. The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Mr. Anindo Majumdar was the chief guest while the Deputy Inspector General, ICG, Regional HQ, A&N, V.N.Pillai, HoO, BSI, Port Blair, Dr. Lal Ji Singh and Principal, JNRM, Dr. N. Fancis Xavier were the guests of honour. The programme was also attended by Officers from Forest Department, ICAR-CIARI, NIOT, Scientific fraternity, academicians and the trainees of GSDP.
Addressing the gathering, the Chief Secretary thanked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change for taking the initiative in providing basic training in green skill development to young people in areas which are vital to the country at large and particularly the A&N Island. He stated that the A&N Islands are a rich biodiversity hotspot and has high level of endemism in both flora and fauna which calls for sincere preservation. Mainstreaming all these concerns in every Department is the need of the hour, he said.
The Chief Secretary stressed on the need for imparting knowledge on Isles’ rich biodiversity and its preservation at the school level and called upon the Departments of Tourism, Agriculture, Environment & Forest and CIARI to ensure that proper steps are taken in safeguarding the biodiversity of these Islands besides ensuring promotion of responsive eco friendly tourism in Isles. He also stressed on the need for sensitizing tourists, both local and foreign, about the endemic species of the Islands, which can be an added attraction. He stated that a programme of this kind should go a long way in creating a new paradigm in promotion of Isles Tourism and the trainees must utilize their acquired skills and find employment in different areas of Tourism.
The Chief Secretary also informed that the A&N Administration has allotted land for the construction of a museum which will showcase the rich marine life of the Islands especially the corals. He urged ZSI to take it up in the right earnest on a fast track mode. The chief guest also congratulated the trainees and the resource persons, as well as the allied departments for the successful conduct of the training programme.
The chief guest and other dignitaries also felicitated the trainees of GSDP and the resource persons from various departments with certificates.
Delivering the felicitation address, DIG, ICG, V. N. Pillai remarked that the Indian Coast Guard is responsible for the protection of marine biodiversity of the country and it works in close association with ZSI in preserving the rich biodiversity of these Islands. This training programme will go a long way in enabling the trainees (taxonomy and para taxonomy) to play a significant role in safeguarding the environment, he added and assured the support of the coast guard in the conservation and protection of the flora and fauna of Isles.
In his address, Dr. Lal Ji Singh stated that resolving the biodiversity issue is a challenge in today’s world and the taxonomy and para taxonomy can play a vital role in bio-conservation. He remarked that the GSDP offers a window of opportunities to young people to hone their taxonomy skill besides exploring avenues for earning their livelihood.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Francis stated that the A&N Islands are a rich biodiversity hot spot and since the last 150 years, the habitats of the endemic species of these Islands have decline alarmingly as they are being disturbed by invasive species as well as human activities which have led to disastrous consequences. He also stressed on the need for identifying such species and to carry out extensive studies on them, so as to protect the flora and fauna of these Islands.
In his welcome address, the Officer–in–Charge, ZSI, Dr. C. Sivaperuman highlighted about the various activities conducted for the trainees as part of the Green Skill Training Programme. He remarked that India faces shortage of skilled workers and hence the need for giving more thrust in skill training programmes is vital. The programme concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Scientist D- ZSI, Dr. Anil Kumar Dubey.