Mangaluru: Plant for the Planet! Minister Ramanath Rai Inaugurates ‘ Laksha Vriksha’ Campaign

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Mangaluru: Karnataka State Forest Department along with District Administration and Zilla Panchayat launched ‘Laksha Vriksha Abhiyana’ (a movement to plant a lakh trees) at Loyola Hall- St Aloysius College on Monday, 10 August 2015. State Minister for Forest and Environment B Ramanatha Rai was given the guard of honor by the Forest Department officials as h entered the Loyola Hall. The programme which was suppose to be officially launched by planting saplings around the Hall premises was cancelled due to incessant rain.

The formal programme began with an invocation by students of Canara College, followed by a skit also performed by Canara College students, demonstrating the importance of tree planting and green environment. Minister Rai inaugurated the “Laksha Vriksha Campaign” by lighting the traditional lamp, along with other dignitaries on the dais namely- MLA JR Lobo, Smt Asha Thimmappa Gowda-President, Zilla Panchayat, Rev Fr Melwyn Mendonca- Principal-St Aloysius PU College, Nagaraj- MD-Karnataka Cashew Governing Board, Dr S Sanjay Bijjoor, Smt Srividya-CEO-DK Zilla panchayat and others.

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As always every year, even though the invitation carries the names of bunch of VIPs who are suppose to grace the occasion, but only half of them show up-like this year the guests of honor who didn’t show up for the programme were- Ministers UT Khader and Abhyachnadra Jain, Capt Ganesh Karnik, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, MLC Ivan D’souza, MLA Moideen Bava, Mayor Jacintha Alfred, K S Murugan- Police Commissioner DK, Dr Sharanappa-Superintendent of Police DK, Dc AB Ibrahim and many others. The question everyone asks is that why even bother to include the names of these people in the invitation, when they don’t care to show up?

Minister Ramanath Rai addressing the gathering said, “Conserving the forest is the primary goal of the Forest Department. The programmes organised by Forest Department as to conserve forests must reach to large masses, awareness programmes should be initiated by the people. While imbalances in the environment are often, forests play an important role towards maintaining the balance in the environment. The Laksha Vriksha campaign launched should leave a deep impact on the minds of people as to love nature and works towards its conservation”

“Priority will be given to safeguard the ecological balance in nature. Rivers born in Western Ghats will be given importance. Measures will be adopted to reduce air pollution, maximize the utilization of drinking water and enlarge the forest cover. Problems in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and other environmental problems will be identified and steps will be taken to solve them. A committee will be formed to look into the problems of CRZ and steps would be taken to solve it after studying the feasibility report. In order to increase the forest cover, afforestation will be done.He further said that recruitment process will be started to fill the vacant posts in the department soon. He has a dream of launching a scheme, ‘Laksha Vriksha Abhiyana’, to grow more trees and thereby preserving the nature. Effective and honest work will be carried out to achieve the goals” added Minister Rai.

Sri Nagaraj visualizing the preview of history of inventions in Botany which are the realities of today said, “Human beings are destroying the Bio-Diversity sphere and are also ruining the entire eco-system nature, so we should conserve, protect and cultivate the endangered species of plants. We need to plant trees as many as we can, because every tree counts. The more we plant trees, better would be the environment. Nature has gifted the twin districts with the abundant natural treasure. Forests here are at peak of destruction, and imbalances in the environment are common. Government should take stringent action against illegal tree vendors, officials must work efficient towards conserving the forest for the future needs. Let’s all work towards a green environment by planting trees in our surroundings”.

Addressing the gathering, MLA JR Lobo said, ” We all know that due to infrastructure lots of trees are axed down and so the greenery is lost. Although very year we launch “Laksha Vriksha Campaign” but sadly we see the extinct of forest. We organize Tree Planting programmes- each year we plant saplings, and again we plant saplings on the same spot the coming year- we don’t take care and nurture the saplings we planted. This is a good step taken by the members of the Forest Department to bring awareness about tree planting and green environment. The state forest department is supplying free seedlings to whoever wishes to grow trees. Residents of large housing flats can also grow small plants. The department has decided to plant saplings in government schools, temple sites and various other vacant places. Growing trees is good for environment-we can breathe clean air. We are taking all steps to augment the green cover”

During the occasion four environmentalists namely K Krishnappa (Mangaluru), kadamanjalu Subhas Rai (Puttur), Vijaya Raghava Padavathnaya (Sullia-Ujjire), and MJ Shetty (Mangaluru) were felicitated with shawl, garland and mementos by MLA JR Lobo. The vote of thanks was proposed by MB Puranik- Environment Officer, and the programme was professionally compered by Santhosh K of Karnataka State Forest Department.

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