Dehradun (Uttarakhand), November 27- Giving a clarion call, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today called upon the countrymen to launch a vigorous campaign for ushering in an ‘Evergreen Revolution’ by planting more and more trees to make our nation clean, green and pollution free.
In his inaugural address on the national stakeholders meet on ‘Trees Outside Forests and Wood-based Enterprise here at the Forest Research Institute (FRI), the Chief Minister appealed the people to plant atleast one tree in the premises of their homes to mark the joyous occasion of birth of every child besides planting trees around their locality as an integral part of the mass movement to protect our environment and maintain ecological balance. He emphasized the need to bring awareness amongst the masses about the significance of trees in normal life adding he said that the Punjab government was determined to enhance the area under agro-forestry from existing 6.3% to 15% in the coming years, with the help and active support of the FRI. Mr. Badal said that the upcoming Mini FRI at Ladowal in Ludhiana district of the state was a right step in this direction, which would be instrumental in bringing ‘second green revolution’ or precisely ‘evergreen revolution’ by promoting the concept of agro-forestry in a big way. “I invite all of you to hold the next FRI meet at mini FRI, as it would give a boost to the agro-forestry in the state” he added.
The Chief Minister said that agro-farm forestry was the need of the hour especially at this critical juncture when Punjab’s traditional agriculture has already reached a point of saturation. He said that the state government has initiated many bold steps for the promotion of agro-forestry by launching ‘Greening Punjab Mission’, establishing wood Mandis and clonal nurseries to provide the quality and disease resistant saplings to the farmers. Mr. Badal envisaged support and guidance from FRI and Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) to encourage agro-farm forestry on a mass scale especially in the water logged areas of south west Punjab.
The Chief Minister impressed upon the leading industrial houses which were in the business of paper and pulp to come forward for extending the much needed marketing support by way of minimum support Price to the farmers for their produce in the open markets. Likewise, he also called upon such industrialists to help both the state governments as well as the farmers in assuring the best prices of their harvest through value addition. The Chief Minister urged the Chairman of Avantha Group Mr. Gautam Thapar, present on dais, to establish paper industry in the state besides lending a helping hand to the timber growers by providing marketing and logistics support to them.
On the occasion the Chief Minister also felicitated two eminent foresters from Punjab Mr. Piare Lal and Mr. Hardeep Singh Gujral with lifetime achievement award for their outstanding contribution in the field of Forestry and environment.
On the occasion the Director General ICFRE Dr. Ashwani Kumar thanked the Chief Minister for gracing the occasion and described this workshop on the theme of Trees Outside the Forest as fruitful and meaningful, which would pave a way for sensitising all the stakeholders to adopt the emerging innovations and best practices in agro-farm forestry.
In his welcome address, Director FRI Dr. PP Bhojvaid lauded the vision of Chief Minister in promoting agro-farm forestry in Punjab and hoped that the upcoming mini FRI at Ladowal would give much needed to the agro-forestry in the country. He said that the unique initiative of state government to set ‘Greening Punjab Fund’ would prove to be a milestone in promoting Trees Outside Forest. Dr. Bhojvaid also envisioned that the upcoming mini FRI, first of its kind in the country, would further intensify the Research and Development activities in the field of forestry in general and agro-farm forestry and wood based industry in particular.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Special Principal Secretary Mr. KJS Cheema and Principal Chief Conservator Forests Dr. Kuldeep Kumar.