New Delhi, May 14 (UNI) Describing forests as a storehouse of bio-diversity and a resource base for the sustenance of the population, President Pratibha Patil today said their preservation was extremely important in maintaining ecological balance as well as in the social, cultural and economic development of any country.
Addressing the IFS probationers who had called on her at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mrs Patil asked them to serve with commitment, honesty and sincerity.
The President said IFS officials had the onerous task of preserving the forests as an invaluable natural resource, and their job required total commitment.
Mrs Patil emphasised that since ancient times, forests and trees have had a special and revered place. ''Many of our ancient saints went to the forests for meditation. Some communities like the Bishnois have even been willing to give their lives for the protection of trees.'' She told the IFS probationers that ''the challenge is to preserve our forests as an invaluable natural resource while giving recognition to the needs of forest dwellers, particularly tribal communities.'' Referring to the enactment of the Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, the President said the legislation provides rights to dwellers over land in their occupation and in its implementation, but it would also have to be ensured that adequate protection is provided to critical wildlife habitat.
''The implementation would thus have to be done with justice and transparency,'' she said.
The President also spoke about her recent official visits to Brazil, Mexico and Chile where she told the leaders of those countries about ayurvedic medicines.
She said there was a great scope for the export of such medicines and already many countries were using them. In this context, she pointed out that forests, as the repositories of herbs, were of crucial importance.
UNI SKS MSJ BD2002