Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi launched 62nd state Van Mahotsav today from the famous pilgrim place Pavagadh by planting a sapling here on the site named Virasat Van (Heritage Forest).

Virasat Van will be developed with the people's participation in the area of 6.5 hectare in the foothills of Pavagadh. Since 2004, Chief Minister Mr. Modi has initiated to develop a series of ‘cultural forests' in the state. Virast Van is the eighth one in this series where trees of 30 different types will be grown beautifying the entire area of Pavagadh hills.

On the occasion, Chief Minister asked people to actively participate in ‘Vave Gujarat' campaign and exhorted people to plant two trees on the birth of a girl child in their families. He said the same trees will yield them enough money for the marriage of their daughter. He also expressed desire to make Gujarat greener by infusing love for the trees in the people across the state.

Chief Minister said the materialistic western culture has destabilized the nature but the Indian tradition believes in the principle of ‘Chhod ma Ranchhod' (Tree has god in it). Living in harmony with nature is the only way out from global warming, he said.

“Van Mahotsav is meant to love and worship the nature. The state government does not want it to remain merely a government programme but wants to involve people in it. And so, it has developed different type of forests with the theme of various elements of our culture so that people can relate to it”, he said.

Speaking on the occasion Forest Minister Mr. Mangubhai Patel said that there are 1300 different medicinal trees being seen in Gujarat. There is a need to take more care of these trees. In a novel concept, the state government has grown various forests like Smriti Van, Rashi Van, Nakshatra Van and others while the forest department is also working for the greening of the urban areas.

Social Justice Minister Mr. Fakirbhai Vaghela said that every religion has considered the tree sacred. He expressed faith that the people of the state will enthusiastically involve themselves in this forestry campaign.

Principal Secretary Mr.S.K.Nanda informed that at present there are 16 trees per hectare in the state and 4.6% of the area outside of forests is green. State government wishes it to increase to 20 and 6% respectively.

Van Pandit' award was given by the Chief Minister and other dignitaries to all those farmers who contributed greatly for the nurturing of age-old trees.

Minister of State for Forest Mr. Kiritsinh Rana, Minister of State for Tribal Welfare Mr. Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, MLAs Mr.Jethabhai Bharwad, Arvindsinh Chauhan, Chief Forest Conservator Dr.Jagdishprasad, District Collector Mr.Manish Chandra, Government office bearers and people in large number were present on the occasion.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to review the status of preparedness to handle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Various aspects relating to medicines, oxygen, ventilators and vaccination were discussed.

The Prime Minister said that together India had defeated Covid last year & India can do it again, with the same principles but faster speed and coordination.

The PM stressed that there is no substitute to testing, tracking and treatment. Early testing and proper tracking remains key to reduce mortality. He also said that local administrations need to be proactive and sensitive to people’s concerns.

The Prime Minister directed that close coordination with States must be ensured in handling the pandemic. He said that all necessary measures must be taken to ramp up the availability of hospital beds for Covid patients. The Prime Minister also directed that additional supply of beds through temporary hospitals and isolation centres should be ensured.

PM spoke about the need to utilize the full potential of India’s pharmaceutical industry to meet the rising demand of various medicines. He reviewed the status of supply of Remdesivir and other medicines. The Prime Minister was briefed on actions taken to address the issue of availability of Remdesivir. Through the efforts of the Government, capacity and production augmentation for manufacturing of Remdesivir has been ramped up to provide around 74.10 lakh vials/month in May while the normal production output in January-February being just 27-29 lakh vials/month. Supplies have also increased from 67,900 vials on 11th April going up to over 2,06,000 vials on 15th April 2021 which are being particularly focused on states with high caseload and high demand. He took note of the ramped up production capacity, and directed that issues relating to real-time supply chain management to States must be resolved urgently in coordination with the States. The Prime Minister directed that use of Remdesivir and other medicines must be in accordance with approved medical guidelines, and that their misuse and black marketing must be strictly curbed.

On the issue of supply of medical oxygen, the Prime Minister directed that the installation of approved medical oxygen plants should be sped up. 162 PSA Oxygen plants are being installed in 32 States/UTs from PM CARES. The officers informed that 1 lakh cylinders are being procured & they will be supplied to states soon. The officers briefed the PM that they are in constant supply with 12 high burden states in assessing the current and future requirement of medical oxygen. A supply mapping plan for 12 high burden states till 30th April has also been undertaken. The Prime Minister also said that supply of oxygen required for production of medicines and equipment necessary to handle the pandemic should also be ensured.

The Prime Minister also reviewed the status of availability & supply of ventilators. The Prime Minister noted that a real time monitoring system has been created, and directed that concerned State governments should be sensitized to use the system proactively.

On the issue of vaccination, the Prime Minister directed all officials to make efforts to utilize the entire national capacity, in public as well as private sector, to ramp up vaccine production.

He was joined by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Union Home Secretary, Union Health Secretary, Pharma Secretary. Dr V K Paul, Niti Aayog was also present.