‘Forests are our protective cover’, J&K LG celebrates International Forest Day as a sacred festival

The International Day of Forests was celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir on March 21, 2023. In human history, forests and humans are closely linked, said the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Manoj Sinha. Nature is family, such beliefs and such rituals were passed on by our ancestors to us. I see Forest Day as a sacred festival of the society. Our ancient text ‘Rigveda’ has its first mantra which mentions the five elements and trees. The treatise in the medicinal sutra mentions that plants, trees and forests act as protective cover for humans. And over the period of our life we must never leave them, LG said. In the jungles of Jammu and Kashmir, a variety of mushrooms growing aplenty are priced at Rs 46,000 per kilo in the markets of Mumbai and Delhi. The cost of the Artemisia herbal plant is Rs 500 per kilo. There are many plants like this in J&K jungles that without causing harm to the jungle can bring decisive changes in the lives of those dependent on the jungles for their living. The jungles can help them become financially capable. To a large extent, the perception has changed towards the Forest Department. New record can be established by the Forest Department of Jammu and Kashmir, said the Lieutenant Governor. There is a large population of the tribal families dependent on the jungles. The rights have been given to them under the guidance of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Among the rights, they have a right on forest produce as well. Under Van Dhan Vikas Yojana, Van Dhan Kendras are being established so that the tribal families get comprehensive economic benefits, livelihood and entrepreneurship opportunities. Regarding the protection of natural resources, in the last two-three years, a number of steps have been taken in which we got the support of the public and awareness was seen in them. In June 2021, the Forest Department had started One Beat Guard One Village Programme and due to the enthusiasm of the general public Jammu and Kashmir has gained the target which is commendable. The learning which we get from plants, trees and forests we may not get it from any school or college. The truth is, whatever we learn from nature, one thing we can understand is that jungles are not only a part of our vital existence but are important for our mental, physical health and well-being.

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