Minister calls upon citizens to support afforestation programme

Citizens should join hands with the government in protecting forests, said District In-charge Minister B Ramanath Rai.

He was speaking after inaugurating the ‘Laksha Vriksha’ programme at Loyola Hall, St Aloysius College, on Monday.

He stated that along with the Forest Department, it is the responsibility of the citizens to protect forests. A balanced ecosystem will help in building a healthy society, he advised.

Stressing on the need to protect the balance of nature, Rai felt it was high time that all people contributed to afforestation by planting saplings. “Several islands have been inundated due to global warming. The coastal belt is vulnerable, and we should be keener on achieving afforestation for a safe future,” the minister said.

In order to encourage afforestation among children, ‘Chinnara Vanadarshana’ is being implemented by the government, wherein the high school students are taken for a visit to a forest and introduced to the ecosystem and biodiversity. In addition, a novel project ‘Hasiru Shaale’ – which teaches children to create gardens on their school campus – is introduced for schoolchildren, said the minister, reminding that trees help preserve groundwater level.

Role of children
Zilla Panchayat president Asha Thimmappa Gowda suggested every child to plant a sapling, as it will help a great deal in implementing afforestation. “It is equally important to keep our surroundings clean and free from pollution. Also, while planting saplings, we should pick them carefully and not go for saplings of breeds like Acacia Mangium” she advised.

Mangaluru South legislator J R Lobo, who chaired the programme, expressed worry over the vanishing wildlife, as a result of deforestation and said that an imbalance in food chain may have a disastrous effect on mankind. He also lamented that children of the present generation were moving away from Nature and getting attracted to electronic gadgets instead.

Aranya Mitra award was presented to Kademajalu Subhash Rai, M G Shetty Baikampadi, Krishnappa Bondel and Vijaya Raghav Padvetnaya.

Zilla Panchayat CEO P I Srividya, chief conservator of forests Sanjay Bijjur, deputy conservator of forests Dr K T Hanumantappa, Aranya Bhavana, Bengaluru additional chief conservator of forests B J Hosmath and St Aloysius PU College principal Rev Fr Melwin Mendonca were present on the occasion.

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