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Educate common person on sustainable utilisation of forests: CK Mishra

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International Day of Forests 2019 celebrated at FRI
By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 19 Mar: The national level celebration of the ‘International Day of Forests 2019’ was organised by the Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE) at the Convocation Hall of the Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun here, today, on behalf of Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
The United Nations has chosen ‘Forestry and Education: Learn to Love Forests’ as this year’s theme to promote the importance of education at all levels in achieving the goals of sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation. The Chief Guest on the occasion was CK Mishra, Secretary, MoEF&CC, while the keynote speaker was Padma Bhushan awardee Chandi Prasad Bhatt. Also present were Saibal Dasgupta, ADG (FC), MoEF&CC; Dr Subhash Ashutosh, Director General, Forest Survey of India; Dr VB Mathur, Director, Wildlife Institute of India; Omkar Singh, Director, IGNFA; Dr SC Gairola, Director General, ICFRE; and Arun Singh Rawat, Director, FRI. The event was also joined by several organisations of MoEF&CC like ICFRE, FRI, IGNFA, Directorate of Forest Education (DFE), CASFOS,  FSI, WII, BSI, ZSI; Regional Office of the MoEF&CC at Dehradun, the IIFM, Bhopal; and the Uttarakhand Forest Department, as well as the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Dehradun.
Saibal Dasgupta ADG (FC), MoEF&CC, highlighted the ministry’s commitment to striking a rational balance between environmental conservation and economic growth.
Congratulating ICFRE on hosting the ‘International Day of Forests’ celebration and highlighting the significance of the event, Chief Guest CK Mishra, advised rethinking and initiating actions on educating the common person for effective linking  to the forests and a hassle free approach of the government towards sustainable utilisation of forests. Awareness was not only to be confined to the community in and around the forests, but also created outside the forests, he added. Appreciating the efforts of the entire forestry fraternity in India, including people growing trees on land outside the forests for increasing the forest cover, he emphasised the need for concerted and consolidated efforts from all to enhance the quality and productivity of forests. He advised bringing together traditional knowledge and science, evolving a workable framework, and educating the people overcome these issues.
Chandi Prasad Bhatt stated that the role of forests had increased manfold given the pressure of rising population and associated developmental activities, and urged transformative thinking on the issue. He said there was urgent need to revive the age old traditional relations with the forests. Educating the common man had become imperative from this perspective. He sought effective policies to enhance the income of the tribals and forest dependent communities.
Presenting an overview of the efforts and resources of the ICFRE for promoting forestry research, education and extension in tackling the problems afflicting the forests, Dr SC Gairola urged all those connected with forestry to introspect on the journey and take stock of challenges lying ahead.
Guest Speakers Dr Subhash Ashutosh, Dr VB Mathur and Omkar Singh also addressed the gathering.
Two publications – a Coffee Table Book, titled ‘Nature’s Kaleidoscope: Biodiversity of New Forest Campus’ and ‘Scientists of ICFRE: Biodata’ were released by the Chief Guest. Five scientists – Dr Girish Chandra, Dr Vineet Kumar, Dr SS Chauhan, Dr Pankaj Agarwal, Dr Madhumita Dasgupta from ICFRE and Dr A Arunachalam from ICAR  were awarded ICFRE awards for excellence in forestry – 2018.  Prizes were also given to the winners of painting and essay competitions to the students of Dehradun based Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalayas, photography competition for various forestry organisations and debate competition for FRI Deemed to be University students. The vote of thanks was proposed by Arun Singh Rawat.
An exhibition was also organised at the Mango Grove. Various forest products, eco-friendly technologies, publications, artifacts, organic produce and other livelihood options promoted by NGOs and Government organisations/departments were showcased. There was ceremonial planting by the dignitaries at the Botanical Garden of the institute. The event was anchored by Dr Manisha Thapliyal.