President Patil calls on IFS probationers

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New Delhi, May 14 : President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Wednesday called on the probationers of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) who called on her at Rashtrapati Bhavan today, to service with commitment, honesty and sincerity.

Speaking to the probationers, the President said they face an onerous task and that forests are very important in maintaining ecological balance as well as in the social, cultural and economic development of any country. They are a storehouse of bio-diversity and a resource base for the sustenance of the population, she added.

Patil emphasized 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 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 Act provides rights to dwellers over land in their occupation and in its implementation, 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.

President Patil also spoke about her recent state visits to Brazil, Mexico and Chile where she told the leaders there about ayurvedic medicine, which was well appreciated by them.

Patil said there is great scope for the export of such medicines and already many countries are using them. In this context also, forests are important, as they are the repositories of hrbs.

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