Sustainable Development, Environment Conservation Top Priority Of J&K Admin, Says LG Sinha

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JAMMU, Aug 20: Sustainable development and environment conservation is the top priority of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, which is making “honest efforts” to address the challenges of climate change, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said on Sunday.
Sinha was speaking at the launch of the Green Jammu and Kashmir Drive 2023-24 at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) here.
He informed that while four crore saplings were planted in the past three years, another 1.75 crore will be planted this year.
“Sustainable development and environment conservation is our priority. Protection of natural resources is in the DNA of our society, culture. With the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, we are making honest efforts to address the challenges of climate change,” he said.
The drive has become a major contributor to increasing the Union Territory’s green cover, strengthening the ecology and building a healthier society, Sinha said.
“In the past three years, we have been able to plant more than four crore saplings and the target for this year is to plant 1.75 crore plants to ensure ecological security,” he said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor highlighted the need to protect, preserve and restore the ecology and biodiversity for sustainable living.
He said, “Jammu and Kashmir has one of the most diverse forest areas in the country with 55 per cent forest and green cover. It is in the interest of the environment and our future generations to synergise development with the natural resources for sustainable development,” he said.
He said there is a saying that God forgives always, men forgive sometimes but nature never forgives.
“It is high time that we realise that our rights over natural resources are temporary. We have to respect and restore the delicate balance between economic development and the conservation of forests and the environment,” Sinha said.
Sharing key initiatives of his administration aimed at ecological conservation and protection of natural resources, he said 17 ‘nagar vans’ are being established near cities and towns.
“These will enhance the green cover in urban and peri-urban areas to provide a clean and healthy environment to the dwellers of urban centres. It is also being ensured that the city forests are established in all urban local bodies,” he said.
The Lt Governor said the environmental protection awareness campaigns have generated a sense of responsibility among the people and there is growing realisation that nature is the only lifeline for human existence.
Sinha also called on the premier education institutions to take the lead in environmental protection campaigns.
“The next five years will be crucial. The campus of our premier educational institutions should be transformed into green campuses. We need the cooperation and support of all the elected representatives, youth and the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Lt Governor said.
He commended IIM-Jammu’s endeavour to plant 10,000 trees on its campus and made valuable suggestions to make it environment friendly.
He also advised IIM-Jammu to install solar power to reduce its carbon footprint, bio-digester and plantation of medicinal plants on the campus and run similar campaigns in nearby villages with the help of students.
He suggested the constitution of a green campus committee, having an annual green campus plan and setting up a biodiversity park on the campus.
The Lt Governor also directed the higher education department to come out with green rankings of higher educational institutions in the Union Territory.