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Delhi to start 'Tree Protection Helpline'

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, June 17 (UNI) Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said her government will very soon launch a 'Tree Protection Helpline' to provide urgent constructive assistance in survival and safety of green cover including trees in the national capital.

She was speaking as a chief guest in a two-day international conference on 'Mitigation of Drought and Desertification', organised on the occasion of world day to combat Desertification.

The conference was organised by an NGO, Caritas, in collaboration with the Planning Commission.

Ms Dikshit said the relation between desertification and drought on the one hand and human influence on the other, were complex.

She added that the degradation of land due to desertification had a serious compounding effect on drought and thereby reduced the chances of the local people to cope with difficult periods.

The chief minister described the 1987 drought as one of the worst of the century, with an overall deficiency of 19 per cent rainfall.

It affected 60 per cent of the crop and a population of 285 million.

Ms Dikshit said ''looking at its impact on developmental gains, it is becoming crucial for us to work towards Mitigating Droughts and Desertification which requires actions in advance and a long term planning.'' While expressing deep concern over fast depleting ground water level and ecological imbalances due to fast urbanisation, she called upon people to synchronise urban lifestyle with natural lifestyle, which would go a long way in protection and preservation of natural beauty and resources.

The chief minister exhorted the entire civil society to work together to face the challenges relating to ecological imbalances including soil erosion, wasteland, disappearance of species of birds and animals, desertification, drought and indiscriminate cutting of trees.

Ms Dikshit further said a large numbers of trees had been uprooted due to last night storm, which was a great loss to the greenery of Delhi.

She called upon people to plant five trees on the loss on one tree. She also mentioned achievements of her government in extending green cover, 'say no to plastic' and 'say no to crackers' campaign.

Union Minister of State Oscar Fernandes and South Asia Rural Reconstruction Association Director Rohini Reddey were prominent among those present at the occasion.

UNI IP PA RN1842

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