Discussions on endangered species mark World Environment Day

Witnessing the struggling state of its biodiversity, The Punjab Government made sure that The World Environment Day was observed and celebrated with enthusiasm and vigor.Keeping in mind the global theme for 2016 as “Go Wild for Life – Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade”, a green ceremony was conducted all over Punjab.In the light of this, the science city, Kapurthala, observed this day by holding an important event at the premises of Pushpa Gujral Science City, organized jointly by the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

 Keeping in view the threats to iconic wildlife species from poachers who indulge in illegal trade of animal parts, discussions on endangered species and other environmental issues were carried out.The event saw the active participation and significant contribution by Manpreet Singh (IAS), Chairman, PPCB; RK Luna, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Retired), Punjab; Dr Rajesh Grover, Director, Science City; DrBabu Ram, Member Secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Patiala; and SandeepBehal, Senior Environment Engineer; among many others.Highlighting the importance of protecting wildlife in their natural habitat, the organizations also focused on the prohibition of deforestation.The event discussed various sensitive issues like the sale of exotic plants and animals, who are caught and uprooted from their natural habitat. This trade, despite of being illegal, is being carried out discreetly and thoroughly and endangering the life of many, while threatening their survival. This issue along with overexploitation of natural resources has been addressed as a priority.

The most endangered species in India are The Great Indian Rhinoceros and Royal Bengal Tiger, whose population has decreased by a significant number. These poor animals are victimized for their horns, bones, teeth, and skins etc, which are smuggled through international borders.Due to the overexploitation of wildlife, the authorities are concerned as many people depend on entirely on the continued availability of local wildlife resources viz. fuel, food and medicines, and the depletion of such resources is harming the human livelihood.The balance of nature has been seriously disturbed by the deliberate introduction of many invasive and foreign species, which have caused indirect harm by competing with native species.

Therefore, the government is constructing a thoughtful plan, with great care and research to strike the right balance and use the correct amount of resources from wildlife species and their habitats, to prevent their extinction.Keeping in mind that the public must cooperate and present the new generations with a healthy green environment, various officials delivered special lectures to spread awareness.Various offices, NGOs and schools like Staff of the State Bank of Patiala planted saplings at the Government Middle School, Garha, in Jalandhar; to set an example and encourage the same.The government has really stepped up in taking an initiative to extend their efforts towards the saving and protecting of biodiversity and hopefully the measures taken by them will be fruitful for nature and society.


Special children saving the environment

Whether you are a child or an adult, a female or a male, the depleting state of the environment is an issue that should bother each and every individual of the society. This is so because life wont be possible in future if we keep on harming the environment. From saving water, to planting trees, there are a number of effortless things that, if done by all can make a huge difference in the society and help in saving the environment.

One such effort has been done by a number of special children from schools like Jagriti Special School, Ibadat, Bhawans SL Public School and Amrit Parivar. For showing that they care for the environment, they have planted trees and motivated a number of people to do the same. This whole activity was possible in an association with the Pehal Resource Center in Karampura. Under the guidance of District Special Olympics Association, these children carried out the activity of planting trees and explaining the society how effortless; yet important this task is for the society in today’s world.

DSOA has been inspiring students at a number of schools to plant tress and save the environment through a number of different kinds of activities. But such an initiative was its firsts, and it plans to carry it on further with more children. These schools have been doing their own bit to impart the education to kids on environment, its current state and what can be done to save it. Along with this, various schools have taught their kids to use jute bags, paper bags and even carried out activities of making such bags, so that the use of plastic bags can be reduced in the near future. The representative from the school Ibadat said that they keep teaching the kids about saving water and electricity through different kinds of activities. These activities make the learning process a lot simpler and also stays for a long time in the minds of the kids.

The schools took a pledge to come forward together and bring out some collaborated efforts for saving the environment with participation of the kids, their friends and even their families. Teachers and principals of these schools say that in comparison to other kids, these special kids are more responsive and interested in carrying out such activities, which help the environment. Also, like any other individual they should also understand their responsibility towards the environment and the society.

An effort to stop the Wildlife Trade

Witnessing the struggling state of its biodiversity, The Punjab Government made sure that The World Environment Day was observed and celebrated with enthusiasm and vigour. Keeping in mind the global theme for 2016 as “Go Wild for Life – Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade”, a green ceremony was conducted all over Punjab.

The most impressive job was done by Amritsar, where the Local Bodies Minister, Anil Joshi, started the day by leading a cycle rally, originating from Novelty Chowk to Company Bagh, where he, along with other participants, planted tree saplings and distributed them among morning walkers and joggers, motivating them to replicate the thoughtful act.

Also, NGOs all over Punjab,organised and encouraged citizens to indulge in green activities like green walks, plantation drives and conducted awareness seminars.

Looking at the ignorance and neglect faced by the environment, BIG FM in collaboration with WWF India-Punjab, organised a painting competition for school children, on the theme ‘Save Water’, at 45 locations, all over India. With an aim to sensitize and educate children about the deteriorating situation of nature, and what they can do to prevent it and further decrease the seriousness of the crisis, the competition’s objective was to also make the students aware about issues like global warming and the depletion of native flora and fauna.

The government has really stepped up in taking an initiative to extend their efforts towards the saving and protecting of biodiversity.

Highlighting the importance of protecting wildlife in their natural habitat, the organisations also focused on the prohibition of deforestation.

In Punjab, where the state bird, the Northern Goshawk of Guru Gobind Singh, has become extinct, the state animal is visible primarily in a couple of zoos, and the state tree has dwindled manifold, the problems stare us in the eye. And yet we are blind to reality, and are moving towards catastrophe.

Kapsons, in association with citizen activists, also held a nature walk from the Mall Road to the Company Bagh which was joined by Jagjit Singh Walia, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), Amritsar, who planted saplings along the roadside and at the Company Bagh and emphasized on saving environment for the future generations by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Punjab cares for its Animals: People, NGOs coming forward for the cause

In what is was being seen a unique scheme, the Punjab Government six years back came up with the policy of animal adoption. This came as a welcome move especially among animal activists who had been fighting for more laws to prevent cruelty to animals.

Punjab cares for its Animals: People, NGOs coming forward for the cause. Bikram Singh Majithia, sukhbir singh badal

While the scheme is on, the government’s initiative in this direction have been sincere and now very recently the Punjab Zoos Development Authority, also responsible for running the adoption scheme has announced a rebate in the income tax if anyone goes for animal adoption.

Income Tax Exemption

The Society which runs the scheme at Chhatbir zoo has said that whatever sum is contributed to the society for animal donation will be eligible for exemption under the Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961. As per officials 50 percent of the said amount will be considered for exemption.

Free entry into the zoo

In addition to this those who come forward for this cause are allowed free entry to the zoo four times in a year, besides also a certificate to acknowledge their gesture. The donors are also invited whenever there is a state function at the zoo besides a souvenir kit. Their names also find a mention at the board near the concerned animal enclosure besides having a mention on the official website of the Punjab Wildlife Department.

Encouraging Community Involvement

The main objective behind the scheme is to encourage community involvement in caring for the birds and animals in all important zoos of Punjab. The scheme is open to all individuals and organisations who can adopt a bird or animal for one year, which will go in not just the food for animal but also hygiene besides also costs incurred in medical treatment whenever required.

In addition to Chhatbir zoo, this scheme is applicable in other zoological parks like Ludhiana, Bathinda and Patiala. Those who are kind enough to adopt an animal are regularly informed about the well-being of the animal.

NGOs also pitching in

The government has got an encouraging response from the individuals and even NGOs as is the case in Ludhiana where an NGO has adopted 10 birds and animals and is also working towards encouraging people to adopt animals.

The Adoption Cost

The most expensive is the upkeep of a lion which goes beyond Rs 1.5 lakh for a year, while maintaining a deer comes to around Rs 15000 while for a bear one has to pay around Rs 60,000 annually.

The adoption scheme doesn’t end with just people adopting animals but there are people who donate money for these animals by organising community langars and the money collected is donated to the zoo authorities.

Authority to keep a check

Those who adopt animals are also given the authority to keep a check on the diet of the animal and also the living condition of the animal adopted. In case the donors find anything which is not satisfactory they can lodge their complaint with the concerned authorities and also seek action-taken report for the same to know what remedial measures were taken.

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Punjab leads Sanitation Development

When it comes to ensuring quality life and equality in sanitation, Punjab makes it to the top. It is a proud privilege for the state to become first state in the country to become ‘open defecation state’, after having given the facility of public toilets to 75 percent of its population.

Nature’s Call just a toilet Away for Punjab Villages

To take it forward the government has launched a project to ensure each and every house in villages have their own toilets which would in any case maintain a check on the open defecation.

The plan is to have 2.68 lakh latrines would come up in 4000 villages, which is in addition to 24,585 such latrines which have already come up in 749 villages.  8 lakh latrines would come up in the next 2 years, which is the target of the government. It would cost Rs 1200 crore for construction of these latrines and this would ensure there is no open defecation in the rural belts of the state.

It was two years back that the state government had announced it will launch a project to ensure each house in the village has a toilet. Today it is close to becoming a reality.

The Punjab government is said to have come up with over 33 lakh toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for over 7.92 lakh families who will get the privilege of using their own toilets, for which the government has spent over Rs 937 crore.

In the next two years the state government plans shelling out Rs 1200 crore, a decision to which effect was taken by the chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The government has also successfully implemented its other rural government project to ensure 100 percent water connections. The deputy commissioners of the respective villages have also been directed to ensure rural toilets are constructed on priority in their respective areas.

Rising Numbers: There has been an increase in the population of rural areas if we compare it using the help of 2011 statistics. This has further necessitated the need to provide them with proper toilets. The increase has been to 3.3 million rural households from 2.7 million which comes to 72 percent increase in the population in rural areas of the state. The government has hence launched this scheme which is a move to develop

Touching base with People:

To make this scheme a success in the state, the government has ensured it directly involves the general public which can go a long way in checking open defecation. In all, 166 Panchayats have won Nirmal Gram Puraksar of the centre. An interesting facet of the scheme is how photographs of the beneficiaries standing by the constructed toilet are uploaded on the union government website ensure transparency or anything. Meanwhile over 18,000 such photographs have been used so far on the site. The government is also

Toilet Stats:

Number of rural households: 3.3 Million

Access to toilets: 3.3 Million.

Women using Toilets: 87 percent

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Animal Welfare Initiative (Animal Adoption Scheme)

Animal Adoption Scheme

The government of Punjab has initiated animal adoption scheme where they have offered a chance to adopt wild animals and birds from major zoos of the state, promoting community involvement for animal care.

Under the scheme, any individual, trust, or organization can adopt an animal or a bird for a year or a few months and contribute towards feeding the animal, maintenance of hygiene and cleanliness of enclosures as well meet the medical costs.

The scheme will be available at the Mohindra Chaudhury Zoological Park at Chhatbir, zoos in Ludhiana, Bathinda and Patiala, a deer park at Neelon on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road, and an aviary in Patiala. “Those who are keen to adopt a wild animal, we provide them specific information about the upkeep of the animals in the zoo. It’s the duty of every human being to contribute to the conservation of wild animals as human beings are very much responsible in disturbing their natural habitat and placing them in captivity,” said Vishal Chauhan, District Forest Officer of Ludhiana.

The Punjab Youth Forum, an NGO in Ludhiana, has adopted almost ten birds and animals from Ludhiana zoo, and has also been working to inspire people to adopt wild animals. “We are trying to convince people to adopt wild animals and birds and contribute towards feeding the animals. The annual expense to adopt a lion is 1,800 dollars, where as a deer costs 250 dollars and a bear costs 680 to 800 dollars. There are many people who donate money for organizing community meal at religious places. So, we approach them to adopt wild animals. Through the conservation of wild animals, we can maintain nature’s balance, which is important for both the environment and geography,” said Dr.Kripal Singh, Convener of Punjab Youth Forum.

After adoption, the person will have the right to check the diet and living conditions of the animal and can seek an explanation about anything pertaining to the adopted animal from the authorities.

Also, this scheme offers a lot of benefits to the customers. The first advantage is that the adopters get their names displayed in the zoo premises. Second, the adopters automatically become the ex officious members of the ‘Zoo Development Society‘, which would soon start in Punjab and would work towards the development of the Zoos in the State. And the third advantage is that the adopters would get free entry in the Zoo whenever they wish to visit.

More so, the adopters would be regularly informed about the upkeep of their animals and the biggest advantage of this scheme is that people get a chance to do something good for the natural habitat by taking care of an animal(s).

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Green Conservation with the (Green Punjab Mission

Punjab is known for its rich agriculture production in India. But very little is known about its miniscule forest cover of 7% as against 65% green cover of states like Uttarakhand.

food grains production - sukhbir singh badal

In what is being billed as the first major afforestation initiative, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has embarked on a green mission to double the forest cover to 15% from 7%. Badal, who became the CM for the record fifth time, formally inaugurated the Rs 1,900 crore “green Punjab mission” in the hallowed precincts of the prestigious Forest Research Institute (FRI). Under the project, the state government signed aMoU with the FRI here to achieve the goal (5-8 years) with the involvement of farmers and the state forest department.

From seed to trees, the MoU envisages the FRI to tackle all the forest-related problems and provide its technical expertise to farmers in the maintenance of the green cover. “FRI will not only plant a sapling but take care of it for 3 to 5 years till it properly grows,” said Badal after the signing of the MoU.

He also gave a nod to provide 40 lakh saplings to all the government institutions and villages for free of cost to make the state clean and pollution free under the ongoing green drive. The CM asked officers of the forest department to carefully choose plants as per the topography of different regions of the state to ensure their longevity.

Officers were required to play a proactive role in transforming the campaign into a mass movement by ensuring maintenance of saplings after they were planted. He also gave a nod for sending Forest Department officers abroad to undertake further studies for the preservation of plants in scientific manner. The Chief Minister approved projects worth Rs. 16 crore including five new ones for improving urban forestry and imparting education to the citizens by creating pockets of forest near Ropar, Amritsar, Patiala, Ludhiana, and Bathinda and for the establishment of common facility centre in Talwara for increased value-addition of the local products. He gave concurrence for the Annual Plan Outlay for 2015-16 under CAMPA budgeted at Rs. 67.95 crore.

The construction of state Forest Institute at Ladhowal near Ludhiana, in collaboration with Forest Research Institute (FRI) Dehradun, is going on in full swing. ThisRs. 23.29 crore worth project would be completed by November this year. The institute would focus on research related to agro forestry promotion in the state.

A Clonal Eucalyptus Nursery is being set up at Ludhiana in collaboration with the FRI, which would be the biggest of its kind in North India, with a capacity to provide 50 lakh seedlings to the farmers.

A nursery of herbal-cum-medicinal plant has been set up on 25-acre land in Talwara  region, which would serve as a model for replication in other areas of Kandi  region in the future. Plantation of industrial timber and ornamental tree species will be carried out under this programme. To ensure proper pricing of the timber grown by farmers, timber market will be strengthened and upgraded throughout the state.

To cater to the research needs of the state, a research institute will be established in Punjab with the help of FRI. “Through this green mission, the Punjab government has set an example which will be followed by other states in future,” said V K Bahuguna, Director General Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education which controls the FRI.

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