Port Blair, July 31: The month-long celebration of ‘70th Van Mahotsav’ culminated with a valedictory programme organized by the Department of Environment & Forests in the auditorium of Tagore Govt. College of Education here today. The Lt. Governor, A&N Islands and Vice Chairman, Islands Development Agency, Admiral DK Joshi, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, NM, VSM (Retd.) was the chief guest on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, the Lt. Governor lauded the Forest Department, students from various parts of the Islands and PRI members for their contribution in the successful conduct of the month-long event of ‘70th Van Mahotsav’ in A&N Islands. Mentioning that ‘Forest is life’, the Lt. Governor remarked that the celebration of ‘Van Mahotsav’ envisages the importance of trees for our survival and there exists a direct relation between mankind and environment. Speaking about the Islands’ scenario, the Lt. Governor stated that in A&N Islands, we are fortunate to have the green cover of about 92 to 94 % and this, in turn, contributes towards improving the carbon sink. The A&N Islands stand at a much better position in comparison to other States on the mainland in context of ‘green cover’, he said. The Islands are blessed with a unique ecosystem comprising of rich forests, coral systems, underwater meadows and other marine life etc., but we must not be complacent in taking care of our ecosystem, said the Lt. Governor. He also informed about the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’, a Govt. of India programme towards water conservation, and urged the Islanders to contribute towards making it a great success. The Lt. Governor further stated that the observance of ‘Van Mahotsav’ should not be confined to a month-long celebration rather it should be a continuous one and efforts must be made to further nurture the plants planted during Van Mahotsav. He also congratulated the winners of various competitions organized by the Department of Environment & Forests during the month-long celebration.
The Lt. Governor and other dignitaries also felicitated the winners of the competitions with certificates and trophies. On the occasion, three students from JNV, Chouldari were bestowed with ‘Certificates of Appreciation’ for their fervent efforts in planting saplings and nurturing them since last one year, which was received by the Principal, Mrs Shymla.
Speaking on the occasion, the PCCF (ANI) Mr Tarun Coomar threw light on the current status of the environment across the globe. Mentioning the contribution of the then Union Minister for Agriculture, Dr K. N. Munshi which led to the celebration of ‘Van Mahotsav’ across the country, the PCCF said, the forest is an integral part of our ecosystem and we should strive to strike a balance between restoring what we have taken from nature. He also highlighted about ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ in which the Global Foot Print Network, a sustainability organization mentioned that humanity is currently consuming nature 1.75 times faster than the planet can regenerate and called upon all to plant more trees and protect the environment.
The PCCF (Wild Life), Mr DM Shukla, PCCF (CRZ&FC), Mr S. K. Bhandari, PCCF (P&D), Mrs. Jayshree A Chauhan, DGP, Mr Dependra Pathak, Chairperson, PBMC, Mrs Anusia Devi, Adhyaksh (ZPSA), Mr Sanjib Kumar Mandal, Senior officers from the Administration, Central Govt. Organizations, Principals, students and PRI Members were also present on the occasion. A documentary on the celebration of ‘70th Van Mahotsav’ was also screened on the occasion. Earlier, welcoming the gathering, the PCCF (P&D), Mrs Jayshree A Chauhan briefed about the significance of Van Mahotsav and the programmes organized by the Department of Forests in various parts of the Islands. The programme concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by the DFO (FE&PD) Mr Ayyub Hassan.