Tuesday, July 24, 2007

At Vanmahotsav, Modi calls for war against global warming!

Sibte Husain Bukhari

Veraval, July 23:

Global warming and not the heated political scenario was on Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s mind at a public meeting at Veraval on Monday as the State Government launched the 58th Vanmahotsav.

At a function to dedicate the ‘Harihar Van’, a social forest created by Gujarat forest department, Modi said, “In the past, rulers were fighting war for one or another reason, but now it is time to wage a war against global warming.”

Forest, environment and related issues took up most of the chief minister’s speech with not a word on politics.

Linking Somnath, sea and the pilgrimage with nature, Modi in his address said that the State Government is taking all possible steps to provide viable employment to the youths from the fishing communities as a part of its prior announced Rs 11,000-crore Sagarkhedut Vikash Package.

Appealing to people for a “green revolution”, Modi said, “We have made successes in water revolution, and same way we have to be successful on this front too. My Government has planned to create forests in every village,” he said and announced special cash rewards for best-performing Gram Panchayat, Nagarpalika and Corporations towards this cause.

He said his government was planning to celebrate 150th anniversary celebration of 1857 mutiny. “To dedicate to the martyrs of this freedom struggle, social forests will be created in 1,857 villages across the state,” he said and added that September 9 ‘Maha Aarti’ (prayer) will be staged throughout the state.

Modi also recalled the role played by Lord Krishna and K M Munshi in terms of protecting environment and forest. Lord Krishna was the first environmentalist of the known world, he said, and added that “as peoples use water in Somnath temple, the same way water must be sprinkled in this Harihar Van”.

Minister for Forest and Environment, Mangu Patel in his address pointed out that through these drives of social forestry, the percentage of area under green cover has gone up over the years in the state. He also stated that from August 6 next, 1.35 crore plants will be distributed across 16,400 villages.

The target is enhance the rate of afforestation to as much as 22 percent, said a release.

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