By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 16 Jul: On the auspicious occasion of Harela festival, the President of Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), Karan Mahra, today participated in a party led tree plantation drive in Dehradun. He led the campaign of the party by planting a tree in Gandhi Park here today. Speaking on the occasion, Mahra greeted the people of the state and noted that Harela was a wonderful festival in the rich folk tradition of Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand’s forests, parks, national sanctuaries, national parks had a special significance and contribution to the preservation of the environment of the whole world. Karan Mahra himself planted a tree in Gandhi Park, Dehradun and then he appealed to all the Congressmen of the state to plant trees in their respective areas.
Mahra said that Uttarakhand was a special state of the country in which 67 percent of the total land area was forest land. However the actual forest area was just 47 percent forest land while the 20 percent land under the Forest Department did not have forest in it. He suggested to the state government that 20 percent vacant forest land be linked with employment by making a plan to carry out forest related activities. He said that the Himalayan region had made a special contribution in protecting the country and environment and Uttarakhand in particular had made a significant contribution in protecting the environment of the country and the world. As the glaciers and greenery of the Himalayas were continuously decreasing, it was necessary to organise tree plantation drives to protect them. He said that being a Himalayan state, the people here had a special reverence and respect for the trees, but one ought not limit himself or herself to merely planting trees but also ought to ensure the protection of the trees.
Mahra said that the tradition of celebrating tree plantation as Harela festival in Uttarakhand had been centuries old, that was why the importance of Uttarakhand in protecting the world environment had been respected at the international level. He said that tree plantation was a great work, trees work to protect nature in different ways. He also appealed to all the Congress workers across the state to come together to protect the environment as well as to protect the Himalayas.
On this occasion, State General Secretary Organisation Vijay Saraswat, former MP Mahendra Singh Pal, State General Secretary Naveen Joshi, Rajendra Shah, Yakub Siddiqui, Dr Jaswinder Singh Gogi, former Minister Ajay Singh, outgoing Garhwal Mandal media in-charge and panelist Garima Dasauni, former MLA Rajkumar, Dehradun Mahanagar Congress President Lalchand Sharma, State Women President Jyoti Rautela, State Secretary Shanti Rawat, Asha Manorama Dobriyal Sharma, Vijay Pal Rawat, Vineet Prasad Bhat were among those present.