Jamshedpur MP Bidyut Baran Mahto plants a tree to mark the beginning of Van Mahotsav in Chakulia, 60km from the steel city, on Tuesday while (right) East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amit Kumar tries out a leaf hat. Pictures by Bhola Prasad
Chakulia (East Singhbhum), July 4: The state-level 68th Van Mahotsav kicked-off today with a pledge to help Jharkhand regain its green cover at a function at Chiyabandi, some 60km from Jamshedpur.
Chief minister Raghubar Das, who was supposed to be there, could not come as his chopper failed to take off from Ranchi because of inclement weather.
The beginning of Van Mahotsav, which was organised by the state forest, environment, and climate change department, was marked by heavy rains as dignitaries sat under a large pandal. Among them were Jamshedpur MP Bidyut Baran Mahto, principal forest secretary Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, special secretary A.K. Rastogi, principal chief conservator of forests (head of forest force) R.R. Hembrom, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) L.R. Singh, chief conservator of forests (wildlife) A.M. Sharma, East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amit Kumar and SSP Anoop T. Mathew.
In the audience was Jamuna Tudu, who is popularly known as Lady Tarzan for her campaigns to save forests, villagers from Chakulia and Baharagora and members of Van Suraksha Samity.
"Let's promise that each one of us in Jharkhand will sow five saplings each. Jharkhand will regain its green cover in 10 years if we stick to this pledge. This can only happen if people chip in with their support to the state government. Let's join hands to make Jharkhand green," Mahto said in his address as chief guest.
Hembrom said the forest department had sowed 2.57 crore saplings throughout Jharkhand last year. "This year Van Mahotsav will be celebrated with people's support at every forest division from July 4 to 31. We have set a target of sowing 2.66 crore saplings this year. Tree plantation will be done at 458 places across the state," he added.
PCCF (wildlife) Singh said Van Mahtosav was aimed at spreading awareness towards saving forests. "Existence of mankind will be threatened if we don't save forests. Tree plantation will have no meaning if forests are not saved and protected. Jharkhand can be a green state if we work together," he added.
Deputy commissioner Kumar said 690 hectares of land had been earmarked for tree plantation in Chakulia. Complimenting women members of the Van Suraksha Samity, he said tree plantation drives would take place in Chakulia, which is known as a cashew and bamboo bowl.
Later, the dignitaries planted saplings at a forest in Kharbanda where the plan was to have as many as 49,900 saplings to mark Van Mahtosav.