‘A Day for Mother Earth’, an environmental initiative of the Government

Gyalshing, July 7 (IPR): ‘A Day for Mother Earth’, an environmental initiative of the Government under the stewardship of Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang was observed today at Dentam Senior Secondary School, West Sikkim.

The theme of the event was ‘Celebrating Nature’. The state-level event was organized by the Forest & Environment Department, Government of Sikkim.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister joined the Hon’ble Minister for Forest, other Hon’ble Ministers, Hon’ble Deputy Speaker, SLA, Hon’ble MP Lok Sabha, dignitaries, and senior officers of the Government in planting saplings in the premises of Dentam Senior Secondary School, to mark the important event.

It may be reminded that, since 2019, 7th July is celebrated every year as ‘A Day for Mother Earth’. On this day, all vehicle movement throughout the State comes to a standstill for 7 minutes at 11 am as a tribute to nature and an initiative to preserve and conserve the environment.

Speaking on the occasion, the Hon’ble Chief Minister highlighted the objective behind celebrating ‘A Day for Mother Earth’ on 7th July every year. He extended his gratitude towards Forest and Environment Department for organizing such an event duly adhering to Covid-19 protocols. He said that the ‘A Day for Mother Earth’ program envisioned by the Government is Sikkim’s contribution to the environmental initiatives being taken locally, nationally, and globally.

He appreciated the initiatives taken by the Forest and Environment Department through various schemes and annual plans of operations for sensitization, generating awareness among the masses, and restoring the ecosystems through the plantation, other engineering measures concomitantly generating livelihood opportunities. Further, he mentioned that the Forest and Environment Department has been constantly engaging students from schools & colleges, and the general public through online/offline competition events to inculcate pro-environment behaviour and actions among the youth of the State.

He said that the prime concern of the Government in the service towards society and nature. He said that the Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us of the importance of preserving the environment and keeping it clean. He added that the government has always protected the sanctity of the green zones and will continue with the same principles of environmental awareness and adopt measures to decrease pollution.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister suggested that the restriction on vehicular movement for seven minutes at 11 am on 7th July every year could be extended for the whole day. He said that if there is consensus, this could be made a regular practice from 7th July 2022 onwards.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister further shared the government’s plan to streamline and initiate internal policies, norms, and conditions in all the departments to bring uniformity. He further urged the people of Sikkim to continue to abide by all the Covid-19 protocols and preventive measures to remain safe at all times. In conclusion, the Hon’ble Chief Minister urged all to pledge to collectively make Sikkim plastic-free and dedicatedly perform our responsibilities towards the environment.

Hon’ble Minister, Forest and Environment Department, Shri Karma Loday Bhutia, in his address, informed the gathering that it is an initiative of the State Government to celebrate nature and to sensitize & aware everyone of environmental conservation. He appealed to the people of Sikkim to increase the green cover by planting more trees which will help in reducing air pollution and increase the oxygen level for humankind. He further appealed to all to be united to achieve the goal and set an example bestowing our reverence to nature so that we leave behind a clean environment for the future generation.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of various awards to deserving individuals and organizations for their remarkable contribution to the preservation of the environment.

Following are the awards under various categories conferred upon individuals and organizations by the Hon’ble Chief Minister:

I) Sikkim Rajya Van Samrakshan Evam Paryavaran Puraskar (RVSEPP): comprising of citation & cash award Rs. 5,000/- each to three awardees. The Awardees of RVSEPP are as follows:

i. Shri. Sohn Tshering Lepcha, Assistant Livestock Inspector, Himalayan Zoological Park, for his immense contribution in mitigating Man-Animal conflicts in the State for the past two decades.

ii. Shri. Pirthi Man Limboo, Head Mali, Soreng Territorial Range, West Sikkim for providing field-level leadership and teamwork in raising healthy and plantable saplings of indigenous and rare tree species. The nursery was also judged as the best nursery in the district.

iii. Shri. Jeevan Chettri, Driver (Contract under JICA-SBFP) deputed to Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary, East Wildlife Division for his valour and dedication during Man-Animal conflicts operations especially pertaining to Himalayan Black Bear in East Sikkim.

2) Certificate of Appreciation & Cash Award of Rs. 1,500/- each (11 awardees) to:

i. Shri. Thakur Ram Chettri, BO, Gangtok Territorial Range, East Sikkim a dedicated forester engaged in all forestry field-related activities is also actively in emergency disaster-related services for which he received a certificate of appreciation from the Land Revenue Department Government of Sikkim, during the year 2015.

ii. Shri. Pema Lhendup Lachungpa, HFG Mangan Territorial Range, North Sikkim who along with his colleague Mr. Gyatso Lachungpa, FG exhibited valor and compassion to successfully rescue 4 (four) victims of a car accident at Lapsi Dara near Manul along North Sikkim Highway on 1st October 2020.

iii. Shri. Suraj Limboo, HFG, Namchi Territorial Range, South Sikkim posted at Dalep Forest Checkpost (FCP) with vigilance and team effort has led to detection and apprehension of forest offenses/offenders leading to FCP generating the highest revenue under South District contributing in the division exceeding the target for the FY 2020-21.

iv. Shri. Roshan Rai, HFG, Rabongla Territorial Range, South Sikkim is vigilant and sincere field personnel who has always been prepared for any emergencies. He additionally supports the range of administrative work and has a great sense of teamwork.

v. Shri. Gyatso Lachungpa, FG, Mangan Territorial Range, North Sikkim assisted Mr. Pema Lhendup Lachungpa, HFG exhibited valor and compassion to successfully rescue 4 (four) victims of a car accident at Lapsi Dara near Manul along North Sikkim Highway on 1st October 2020.

vi. Ms. Anjana Chettri, FG, Pakyong Territorial Range, East Sikkim through strict and efficient patrolling has reduced illicit activities and controlled Forest land encroachments at Amba- Tareythang. Further, under her supervision Avenue Plantation has been commendably raised at Amba, the Gram Panchayat Unit adopted by Hon’ble Chief Minister during 2020.

vii. Shri. Tara Hang Subba, HFG, Tashiding Territorial Range, West Sikkim a dedicated and dynamic field staff who, despite a dire shortage of trained manpower and resources, has established Forest Check Post at Tashiding bridge ensuring regulating transit of forest produce and enhancing revenue.

viii. Shri. Sonam Thendup Bhutia, HFG, Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary, East Sikkim is a knowledgeable and skilled wildlifer who during Man-Animal conflicts, has successfully tranquilized many dangerous straying wild animals, especially the Himalayan Black Bear.

ix. Shri. Prem Kumar Subba, HFG, Sidkeong Tulku Bird Park, West Sikkim is a hardworking and dedicated frontline wildlife staff whose efforts have led to successful captivate breeding of Golden and Yellow Pheasants at the Sidkeong Tulku Bird Park, Rabdentse, West Sikkim.

x. Shri. Dipchand Biswakarma, FG, Gyalshing Territorial Range, West Sikkim is a dedicated field staff managing vast forest jurisdiction. His tenacity and diligence have led to the apprehension of forest offenses/offenders with one of the cases compounding for Rs. 4 Lakhs.

xi. Ms. Preeti Rai, BO (Ad-hoc) Sericulture, presently functioning as Farm In-charge at Central Sericulture Farm at Mamring is a self-motivated and hardworking official whose efforts have led to record production of Cocoon even during the COVID Pandemic period. She has been the main lead inefficient upkeep of the farm which has been recognized by different sectors.

II) Letter of Appreciation to Frontline staff (142 numbers): To recognize the contributions of the frontline staff and encourage their peers/colleagues, a letter of appreciation to forest frontline personnel who during 2020-21 were engaged/ involved with Sikkim Police/District Administration in quarantine centers / Cremation for COVID-19 deaths.

This was followed by prize distribution to winners of various online and offline competitions conducted by the Department to raise awareness on environmental conservation. The program also had the release of books and publications by the Hon’ble Chief Minister.

Earlier, the welcome address was delivered by PCCF-cum-Principal Secretary, Forest, Shri M.L. Srivastava.

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