Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Sunday launched the ‘Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive 2023-24’ from IIM Jammu while asserting that sustainable development and environment conservation were his government’s priority.
He planted a tree sapling in the campus to mark the occasion.
In his address, the LG congratulated the Forests Department, IIM Jammu, Village Panchayat Plantation Committees and all the stakeholders for the launch of the mega plantation drive.
“Green J&K Drive has become a major contributor to increasing the green cover of J&K, strengthening our ecology and building a healthier society. In the last 3 years, we have been able to plant more than 4 crore saplings and the target for this year is to plant 1.75 crore plants to ensure ecological security,” he said.
The LG highlighted the need to protect, preserve and restore ecology and biodiversity for sustainable living.
“J&K has one of the most diverse forest areas in the country with 55 percent forest and green cover. It is in the interest of the environment and our future generations to synergise development with the natural resources for sustainable development,” he said.
“There is a saying that God forgives always, men forgive sometimes but nature never forgives. It is high time we realize that our rights over natural resources are temporary. We have to respect and restore the delicate balance between economic development and conservation of forests and environment,” LG Sinha said.
At IIM Jammu, the LG shared the key initiatives of the J&K administration aimed at ecological conservation and protection of natural resources.
“Sustainable development and environment conservation form our priority. Protection of natural resources is in the DNA of our society, our culture. With the whole of government and whole of society approach, we are making honest efforts to address the challenges of climate change,” he said.
“Seventeen Nagar Vans were being established near cities and towns. They would enhance the green cover in urban and peri-urban areas to provide a clean and healthy environment to the dwellers of urban centres. It was also ensured that the city forests were established in all urban local bodies,” the LG said.
He said that the environmental protection awareness campaigns generated a sense of responsibility among the people and there was a growing realisation that nature was the only lifeline for human existence.
The LG called upon the premier education institutions of J&K to take the lead in environmental protection campaigns.
“The next five years will be crucial. The Campus of our premier educational institutions should be transformed into a green campus. We need the cooperation and support of all the elected representatives, youth and the people of J&K,” he said.
The LG commended the endeavour of IIM Jammu for planting 10,000 trees around the campus and made valuable suggestions to IIM Jammu to make the campus environment friendly.
He advised the IIM Jammu to install solar power to reduce the carbon footprint, bio-digester and plantation of medicinal plants in the campus and run similar campaigns in nearby villages with the help of students.
The LG suggested the constitution of the Green Campus Committee, having an Annual Green Campus Plan and setting up a Biodiversity Park in the campus.
He called upon the students to work with Gram Panchayat organizations, urban local bodies, which would improve the quality and quantity of natural resources and provide economic benefits to the local people.
The LG directed the Higher Education Department to come out with the green ranking of higher educational institutions of J&K.
He handed over cheques from Village Funds to members of Village Panchayat Plantation Committees and impressed on the Sarpanches for utilising the funds for public welfare and re-invest the amount in planting more trees.
The LG launched the multilingual theme song of ‘Green J&K Drive’ and ‘Har Gaon Haryali’ and also released publications on Slope Stabilization, Green Slopes for Stable roads and Jan- Bhagidari-II and a short documentary on Van Sanrakshan.
Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) Mayor, Rajinder Sharma; Director IIM Jammu, Prof B S Sahay; Principal Secretary, Forests, Dheeraj Gupta; Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Roshan Jaggi and Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar were also present on the occasion.