With increasing tree canopy and expanding infrastructure, the state of Gujarat is undoubtedly drawing attention from every corner of the world. Wondering which all sectors the state is into…the list seems never-ending as the state government recently held its 63rdVan Mahotsav in the lap of nature in Mangadh of Santrampur taluka.
Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated Shri Govind Guru Smriti van in Mangadh and marked the 63rdVan Mahotsav. At the event the Chief Minister gave four Van Pandit awards to people who supported tree plantation drive and helped spread its awareness. He paid tribute to ShriGovind Guru, an unsung hero of India’s national freedom struggle. A book on Shri Govind Guru and his Adivasi followers is also made available by the state. Adivasis fought selflessly for India’s independence, but the government after independence didn’t attend to their sufferings. However, on 63rd Van Mahotsav, Shri Modi announced that state government has planned a scheme for the homeless Adivasis, who will get two lakh land plots for housing, before December. He also said the Gujarat government, which for the past many years is engaged in providing modern day facilities to people living in remote areas, has also reached out to Adivasis in the recent past. Also this year, the state government has made available Science laboratories, ITI and nursing colleges to the Adivasi children coming from each tehsil of areas falling under the Vanbandhu belt ranging from Ambaji to Umergaon.
Gujarat has gone through vigorous urbanization in the past ten years and it has been working extensively towards increasing the tree cover in the cities. Well, this way the state has been able to strike a balance between nature and development. Thus, in this regard, the state government has come up with a book on tree cover in urban areas of Gujarat that gives a detailed study of the tree cover in the urban areas of Gujarat. As per Times of India, with 54%s green cover, Gandhinagar is India’s tree capital. It also states that the census shows that for every 100 people, there are 416 trees in the city, which is more than any other city in the country. There are as many as 8.66 lakh trees in Gandhinagar. At present there are 16 trees per hectare in the state and 4.6% of the area outside of forests is green. The state government wants to increase this to 20 trees per hectare and 6% respectively.
When today everyone fears monsoon failure, Shri Modi, with a visionary approach towards development of the state, had started a series of ‘cultural forests’ long back in 2004. These cultural forests are ‘Punit Van’ in Gandhinagar (2004), ‘Mangalya Van’ in Ambaji (2005), ‘Tirthankar Van’ in Taranga (2006), ‘Harihar Van’ in Somnath (2007), ‘Bhakti Van’ in Chotila (2008), ‘Shyamal Van’ in Shamlaji (2009), ‘Pavak Van’ in Palitana (2010) and ‘Virasat Van’ in Pavagadh (2011).
The government under Shri Modi’s leadership has already made available 6,019 electric cremators, 31,803 solar cookers, and 1,409 bio-gas plants in the state, to reduce the pollution level. Gujarat government, known for its pro-activeness, is taking facilities to the doorstep of a common man and an example of this is 230 mobile vans of the government distributing saplings to people at their doorsteps. The state government has also provided quality seedlings free of cost to the people and built nurseries in far off places. Plantation is not new for the state as the government in past has organized activities of similar nature. The previous governments held Van Mahotsav programmes in Gandhinagar, annually. However, to involve people from across the state in the tree planting drive, the government led by Shri Modi has been holding Van Mahotsav programme outside the limits of the state capital for the past many years. Pavak van in Palitana is a great example of the efforts put in by the state government towards making Van Mahotsav, a mass programme. The van was created in 2010 when Shri Modi and forest minister launched Gujarat’s 61st Swarnim Van Mahotsav.
By creating vans like Pavak van, the state government has set an example of good governance. Adding another feather to its cap, the government in 2011 launched a massive forestry campaign under the name ‘Vave Gujarat’ in July from the foothills of Pavagadh-Champaner world heritage site and marked the 62nd Van Mahotsav . Shri Modi planted saplings and named it Virasat Van (Heritage Forest). Since Indians consider Earth as their mother and Universe as their family, the Chief Minister at the event appealed to the people to get back to becoming nature lovers again. He said we Indians believe in ‘Chhod ma Ranchhod’ (The God resides in trees). Shri Modi has even asked people of his state to plant two trees on birth of a girl child. The CM said we should strongly disapprove cutting of trees and that such values should be inculcated in the young minds today.
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