Srinagar, March 15- On March 15, being observed as the Chinar Plantation Day in Jammu & Kashmir on his instructions, the Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad today planted several chinar saplings on the foreshore road along the famous Dal lake and Kashmir University campus and expressed concern over the dwindling number of the royal tree in Kashmir even as he urged people and institutions to propagate it on a major scale.
The Chief Minister said that chinar was the prominent representation of Kashmir’s cultural landscape which had come to be used as a synonym of the Valley. He said there was need to propagate the tree on a major scale as its numbers were dwindling. He described the decrease in number as a serious matter and urged people and institutions to plant chinars wherever sufficient land was available. He said at present there were only about 40,000 chinars left in Kashmir of which majority was old. He said about 7000 chinars were 400 years or more old while another 10,000 were 300 years old.
Mr. Azad said that chinar plantation was taken up simultaneously today in all the districts of the Valley. The floriculture department supplied chinar saplings to all deputy commissioners while, on the instructions of the Chief Minister, 1000 saplings were sent to Jammu for plantation in the division.
At the Kashmir University campus, the Chief Minister had an interaction with the faculty. He expressed dismay over the increasing number of concrete structures in the campus and compared it with the older times when the university campus was considered as the best in the country. He called for immediate halt to more constructions on the campus upon which the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Riyaz Punjabi assured him that he would issue a notification in this regard.
Prof. Punjabi told the Chief Minister that the Naseem Bagh campus of the university was being declared as a heritage site. The campus has large groves of magnificent chinars believed to have been planted by Mughal ruler, Shah Jahan, who is also said to irrigate these with milk.
The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Mehboob Iqbal, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, S. M. Sahai, Director Floriculture, Kashmir, Dr. Sarwar Naqash were present.
Dr. Naqash said that as a policy matter and in terms of the directions of the State High Court the floriculture department was going pro-active against lopping and cutting of green chinars. He said chinar saplings were being supplied free of cost to the lovers of the glorious tree.