Shimla, Aug.5 : The Himachal Pradesh government recently launched a mass afforestation drive with at least one member of the aimed 1.3 million rural and urban families planting a medicinal or herbal sapling.
The major plantation drive was carried out on the weekend here that witnessed a record number of saplings being planted by public under the programme named "Jan-Jan- Sanjivni Van Abhiyan".
Most of the families planted herbal plants in the kitchen gardens or in the foreyard of their houses.
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, initiated the campaign by planting a sapling at his residence in Shimla and described the mass plantation drive as a multi-pronged programme.
"Every family of the State is being involved. Every family will plant a herbal plant provided by the Government. One plant will not be enough; it is for the inspiration of the people. People should grow maximum herbal plants. It will not only help to keep the environment clean but also on commercial basses it will generate revenue to the people," said Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh.
State forest minister J. P. Nadda termed the plantation drive as a public sensitizing and viable programme.
He contended that the people's participation was not so encouraging in the "Van Mohtosava" since it was limited to the Forest Department. As such the Conservator of Forests came forth with an idea to involve the classes and the masses people through this Jan-Jan- Sanjivni campaign.
"The Forest Department developed these plants in the nurseries. We developed approximately 24 lakh (2.4 million) plants and then we started this programme known as Jan-Jan- Sanjivni Van Abhiyan 2008," said J. P. Nadda, Minister of Forests in Himachal Pradesh. " The objective was that we had some 57 species out of which 19 are of the kind which grown into trees and the rest are herbs and shrubs. We divided the whole State in three levels - the lower altitude, middle altitude and the higher altitude. We distributed the plants accordingly. For the last one-and-a-half months, the distribution part started. I am happy to say that we have crossed the 13-lakh (1.3 million) plant distribution," Nadda informed.
People have also hailed the plantation campaign. They believe that such programmes can be successful only if a proper feedback is compiled and monitored.
"The Government has to pay some attention. There is a need to take feedback and after studying the success of this campaign, the Government should distribute a plant to every individual of the State from next year, which will keep the environment clean and the dream of becoming a herbal state will also get fulfilled. The launching of such campaign by the Government is going to us benefit us definitely," observed Lekhraj, a local resident.
The Department of Forests will take feedback in October and according to the inputs and convenience of the people of the State, a policy will be formulated.
The Himachal Pradesh government has also signed an agreement with the Patanjali Yoga of popular Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, it will buy the fruits, leaves and roots of these plants for medicinal purposes. By Hemant Chauhan