Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal distributes saplings to schoolchildren in Guwahati on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, June 5: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal today said environment education will be made part of the school curriculum in the state.
Speaking at a state-level function organised here today to observe 44th World Environment Day, Sonowal said this step would bring schoolchildren closer to nature and inculcate in them a sense of urgency to protect the environment.
"Inclusion of issues related to protection and conservation of the environment will improve children's understanding and knowledge about the problem and once they grow up they will automatically become the protectors of nature," he said.
Sonowal asked the environment and forests department to work out the details with the education department. He also distributed prizes to the winners of an art competition in schools, organised on World Environment Day today.
"Awareness has to be created to preserve our state's bio-diversity. Towards this end, we must involve the students in the conservation campaign in a big way," he said.
Environment and forests minister Pramila Rani Brahma was also present at the function, which was jointly organised by the environment and forests department, Pollution Control Board and Assam Science Technology and Environment Council at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra auditorium at Panjabari.
Expressing concern over the fast depletion of forest cover, he underscored the need to preserve the rich bio-diversity of the state by asserting that "human beings will survive only if trees exist".
The chief minister said earthquakes and storms have hit the state with alarming frequency this year, leaving a trail of destruction, which was never seen before. "This could be the result of overall environmental degeneration. Time has come for us to think deeply about it or else we have to experience worse situations in future," Sonowal said.
A cycle rally in Guwahati on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos
On the rise of rhino poaching in the state, Sonowal said his government has given special emphasis on preventing rhino poaching at Kaziranga National Park. For this purpose, a permanent office of the principal chief conservator of forests is being set up there. "Presence of senior officials will ensure better monitoring and also lift the morale of the frontline forest staff deployed at the national park," he said.
He said frequent killing of rhinos has brought a bad name to the state. "The unfortunate incident of the killing of a rhino at Kaziranga during the recent visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife Kate, has embarrassed the state before the world as their visit was broadcasted in as many as 45 countries," the chief minister said.
He said this particular incident has exposed "our weakness before the world and we must turn this into strength". He appealed to the people living in the fringe areas of the national park not to provide any sort of support or shelter to poachers.
Sonowal said the state government has set a target to plant five crore saplings in the next four months and seek the people's cooperation to achieve it.
In Kokrajhar, BTC deputy chief Kampa Borgoyary, who is in-charge of the forest and tourism department of the council, today called upon all to join hands to protect forest and wildlife in the Bodoland region. Borgoyary said steps have been taken by the council to preserve its forest and its wealth.
"The BTC administration has been taking strong measures to protect forest and environment through various means like initiating plantation of saplings across the region," he said, urging the department officials to take action against those involved in smuggling of forest products.
Pragjyoti Communication, a network of social awareness and mass action, organised various events among schoolchildren living in and around Pobitora wildlife sanctuary.
Bibian Stars, an alumni organisation of B. Borooah College in Guwahati, celebrated World Environment Day here today, by taking out a bicycle rally from Chandmari flyover to Rajabari in Panikhaiti to create awareness on the need to plant trees. As many as 400 saplings were planted at Rajabari.
Nearly 6,000 saplings were planted in four development blocks under west revenue circle of Jorhat.