By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Rishikesh, 29 Jan: On the occasion of Basant Panchami, an inauguration ceremony took place at the Rishikesh Railway Station, ahead of the upcoming monsoon season, to plant the first 15 of two lakh trees this season by Parmarth Niketan and the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, under the leadership of Swami Chidanand Saraswati.
The Chief Guest on the occasion was Governor Baby Rani Maurya, accompanied by Speaker Premchand Agarwal, Rishikesh Mayor Anita Mamgain, Director of AIIMS Rishikesh, Dr Ravi Kant, and Kumar Sanjeev, HDFC Branch Banking Head of UP and Uttarakhand. The occasion was especially organised to celebrate the donation of the first one lakh trees by HDFC Bank to Parmarth Niketan and GIWA for this noble cause.
The first one lakh trees, mainly of fruit giving, soil retaining and/or medicinal plants, would be planted across Uttarakhand and some in Northern India region by Parmarth Niketan, GIWA and Ganga Action Parivar in select public locations such as Universities, Hospitals, Schools, Railway Stations and other public locations.
Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President of Parmarth Niketan, Founder/Chair of GIWA, shared, “We should celebrate all our occasions and festivals by planting and giving trees. If there are no trees there is no water and if there is no water there is no life. Therefore, let us use every occasion to renew our green pledge.”
He added, “I appreciate the HDFC Bank for coming forward, under the leadership Aditya Puri, Managing Director, HDFC, to donate the first one lakh trees to our Monsoon Greening Drive. I encourage all banks, businesses and institutions to come forward through their Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Social Responsibility to plant trees and to end single use plastic.”
Governor Maurya said, “One of the simplest and most powerful ways each one of us can help reverse climate change is by planting trees. Therefore, I welcome youth, students and all organisations to join the government in this cause. This is a beautiful beginning from Rishikesh that I am sure will spread to the entire nation.” She added that Universities in Uttarakhand would be amongst the first places to welcome this tree plantation initiative in their campuses.
Speaker Premchand Agarwal said, “I personally have committed to spreading and sharing trees on special occasions. If each one us commits to being the change we want to see in the world then our communities and our countries will be happier, healthier, cleaner and greener places for all.”
Mayor Anita Mamgain declared, “Planting trees is important but taking care of them and ensuring they survive and thrive is the even more important.”
Dr Ravi Kant added, “Trees are the doctors and healers of our Earth. By planting trees we are not only protecting the health of our planet but conserving our future.”
Kumar Sanjeev emphasised, “Trees to me are our investment in our present and in our future and we are proud to be supporting this cause.”
Joining the project as an Implementing Partner is Grow Trees organisation, whose head Vikrant Tiwari was also present on the occasion. Anuj Raj, Circle Head, HDFC, Station Master Meena and the Master of Ceremonies for the event was Director of Programme Implementation, Integration and Communication, GIWA, Ganga Nandini.
The ceremony concluded with the planting of a Rudraksha sapling by the dignitaries, followed by children and teachers from nearby schools and dignitaries joining together to plant trees. There was also a water blessing ceremony and pledge to encourage plantation of trees and ending the use of single use plastic.