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Protecting environment ensures sustainable development: CM Dhami

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Himalaya Diwas celebrated at Parmarth Niketan

By Our Staff Reporter 

Rishikesh, 9 Sep: Himalaya Diwas celebrations at Parmarth Niketan, here, were inaugurated by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, President of Parmarth Niketan, Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Founder of HESCO Padma Shri awardee Dr Anil P Joshi, Swami Govind Dev Giri, UP Minister and former Governor of Uttarakhand Baby Rani Mauryaji, Minister Subodh Uniyal, Assembly Speaker Ritu Khanduri, MLA Renu Bisht and others.

They gathered at the banks of the Ganga to discuss ways to ensure that the Himalayas remain a clean and pristine source of health, wellness and inspiration well into the future – especially as climate insecurity increases across the globe. They urged that the Himalayas act as a climate protector – a climate governor – for not only 18 countries in Asia but for the world. Thanks to their unfailing efforts, these mountains have protected this region from the worst effects of climate change but, even so, Himalayan glaciers have lost 18 percent of their mass since 1975 – and the melting rate of these water “banks” has recently increased unexpectedly.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that more needs to be done to strengthen the Himalaya’s governorship of the region’s climate. The event was organised to inspire just that.

Dr Anil Joshi planned this year’s Himalaya Diwas celebrations at Parmarth Niketan, inviting scientists, government ministers and stakeholders.

After the inaugural session in the ongoing Ekal Shri Ram Katha by Shri Ram Kathakar, Swami Govind Dev Giri, during which Dr Joshi explained the need for Himalaya Diwas, Baby Rani Maurya Subodh Uniyalji addressed the gathering.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami stated in his address, “We all must work together for the conservation and protection of the Himalayas, as well as for sustainable development. We must unite for development and the economy, and for the environment and ecology. To keep the air, water, soil and forests of our country pollution free, the Himalayas must be made clean and pollution free. As the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi says, ‘Jai Jawan-Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan-Jai Anusandhan’.”

“During the Harela festival in Uttarakhand, we share a message of nature and environmental protection by planting saplings for a month. The oxygen we are breathing today is the result of the plants planted by our ancestors, so we must continue to plant saplings for our future generations.” The Chief Minister then administered an oath to all the guests and visitors for the promotion of Green Himalayas. Swami Chidanand emphasised, “Every person has to become a guardian of the Himalayas because if the Himalayas thrive, we thrive and, if there are the Himalayas, then there is Ganga. No mountain range in the world has the power to provide life, courage and prosperity to society as the Himalayas do. The Himalayas are a sacred heritage of India’s material richness, divinity, natural splendour, cultural beauty and spirituality that has preserved Indian values.”

During the inaugural ceremony, a powerful new video – filmed during Param Pujya Swamiji’s recent yatra to Iceland and Greenland and depicting the devastating effects of climate change in those Arctic nations – was premiered, “Protecting Our Glaciers: A Himalaya Diwas Sankalp”.

In his opening remarks, HESCO Founder Dr Anil Prakash Joshi suggested, “For the conservation of the Himalayas, the participation of the people and the government is very important. We have to create an ideal model of development. Both society and the government will have to think so that development and ecological development can go hand in hand. For the promotion of the Himalayas, all systems have to be brought on a single platform.”

He added, “The political capital of India is Delhi, the economic capital is Mumbai but the ecological capital is Uttarakhand. Politics, economics and life for that matter cannot survive without our ecology and environment. Hence, Uttarakhand must lead the way in Himalayan protection and preservation.”

Baby Rani Maurya also addressed those present.

Forest and Technology Minister Subodh Uniyal  encouraged everyone to plant saplings.

After the inaugural session, the invited experts and stakeholders focused their experience and attention on the vital topics of Himalayan Environment & Culture; Livelihoods and Tourism in the Himalayas; Education & Healthcare in the Himalayan States; and Himalayan Women & Youth Empowerment to produce a strategy and series of initiatives to combat the effects of climate change in the Himalayas and to address the current and pressing needs and issues of the region.

Also present were MP Ramesh Nishank Pokriyal; Scientist and Former Head of the Botany Division at the Forest Research Institute, Dr Subhash Nautiyal; Director-General of UCOST, Prof Dr Durgesh Pant; President of Vivekananda Youth Connect Foundation, Dr Rajesh Sarwadnyaji; President of Badri Kedar Samiti, Ajendra Ajay; Director of Rajaji National Park, Saket Badola; Director of UCOST, Dr Reema Pant; HESCO Principal Scientist, Dr Kiran Negi; Dean of Seema Dental College, Dr Himanshu Airon; Dr Yogeshwari; Dr DP Uniyal and others.