Thursday, July 16, 2009

IT’S A RECORD!

from Sikkim Express

Sikkim commits ten minutes to world environmental security
Forest minister thanks all for making ‘Ten minutes to Greenery’ a total success



GANGTOK, July 15: Sikkim today inked a new chapter in the environmental record books of the world by planting more than 6 lakhs saplings throughout the hill State in ten minutes during a special campaign ‘Ten minutes to Greenery’ as the clock ticked 10:30 am.

Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh and Chief Minister Pawan Chamling led the campaign from the forefront as thousands of Sikkimese people, army personnel and paramilitary forces came forward and planted more than 6 lakhs saplings in any place of their choice today.
The whole campaign was facilitated by the State forest department.

Speaking to media after completion of the campaign, State forest minister Bhim Dhungel said that an international and national record has been created by the people of Sikkim by planting the 6 lakhs saplings in ten minutes in the State. He expressed his personal and his department’s gratitude to all the people for wholeheartedly supporting the special green mission campaign conceived by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling.

“This special plantation programme which was successful is the gift from Sikkim to the global community and we want every people of the world to be environmentally conscious. We also want to reinforce the image of Sikkimese people as nature and forest lovers”, said Mr. Dhungel in the press meet.

Expressing his confidence that Sikkim has over-achieved its target of 6 lakhs saplings, Mr. Dhungel said that reports have been coming from various places of the State that plantation drive is still continuing till late in the evening. We are encouraged by the overwhelming response of the people, he said adding that the ‘Ten minutes to Greenery’ programme will be made an annual feature and will be conducted on every July 15.
Chief Minister’s Press Advisor Bhim Dahal pointed that the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party has been always committed towards environmental security which had found special mention in the party’s election manifesto. He also pointed that Chief Minister Pawan Chamling is the only Chief Minister to have ever given such a call to the people for plantation of 6 lakhs saplings in ten minutes.

Today’s special programme has been conceived by the Chief Minister which really fits into the working plan of the State forest department and the requirements of the world, said State forest secretary ST Lachungpa.

“This initiative also supported the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) worldwide tree planting campaign. This was also a record that within ten minutes the plants numbering population of the State were planted all over the State”, said Mr. Lachungpa. He pointed out that the ‘Ten minutes of Greenery’ programme where around 6 lakhs saplings were planted would able to sequester about 1400 tons of carbon di-oxide annually. This is the Sikkim’s own unique way of contributing to climate change mitigation, he said.
The forest secretary said that the Chief Minister has further given emphasis on important native species like quercus (oak), rhododendron, magnolia and native wild fruits to have a well balanced forest ecosystem and preserve local biodiversity unique program and was celebrated on a mass scale.

“The plantation was done in every nook and corner of Sikkim where seedlings were arranged by the forest department at every gram panchayat, block level, constituency level and district levels. It was totally a people’s programme and the forest department acted as just a facilitator. The event was unprecedented and one of its own kind. The objective was not only to make tree planting as a Sikkimese way of life but also to send the message to the world community at large that we care for nature”, said Mr. Lachungpa.

“There are myriad of economic activities going on in Sikkim ranging from ecotourism, horticulture to clean power generation through carefully chosen hydroelectric projects. Sikkim’s green governance showcases a unique example of harmony between people, profit and planet”, said Mr. Lachungpa.