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Van Mahotsav: Govt to Launch a 15-Day Mega Plantation Drive in Delhi

Van Mahotsav week is celebrated to encourage people to plant more trees as they are being cut down on a large scale for industrialization and urbanization. Trees help to produce food, maintain ecological balance, improve air quality, improve climate, conserve water, preserve soil, support wildlife, reduce drought, and prevent soil erosion and pollution.

Shivam Dwivedi
If a tree dies, plant another in its place!!
If a tree dies, plant another in its place!!

According to Environment Minister Gopal Rai, the Delhi government will launch a 15-day plantation drive on July 11 to significantly increase the city's green space. On July 25, he announced that the ‘Van Mahotsav’ would begin at the Central Ridge and end with the planting of 1 lakh seedlings at the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary.

Rai announced on July 2 that free distribution of medicinal plants would begin at the Kamla Nehru Ridge. Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, Delhi government ministers, and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will all take part in the 'Van Mahotsav.' MLAs will take the initiative in their respective districts on July 11.

Center has set a target of 28 lakh trees for the Delhi government to plant in 2021-2022. After all, was said and done, 35 lakh trees were planted in Delhi. According to the most recent Forest Survey of India study, Delhi's green cover increased from 21.88 to 23.06 percent of its geographic area in the last two years.

History of Van Mahotsav:

Van Mahotsav Day dates back to 1947 when it was first organized by Punjabi botanist MS Randhawa from July 20 to 27. On 20 July 1947, then-Delhi Police Commissioner Khurshid Ahmad Khan inaugurated the first Van Mahotsav event to highlight the impact of deforestation on flora and fauna. National leaders such as Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru launched a thriving plantation drive.

The tradition of celebrating Van Mahotsav and planting trees has continued since then. Kanaiyaka Maneklal Munshi, Minister of Food and Agriculture, declared it a national activity in 1950. The festival was later moved to the first week of July and renamed Van Mahotsav in 1950.

Significance of Van Mahotsav:

In India, Van Mahotsav week is celebrated to encourage people to plant more trees as they are being cut down on a large scale for industrialization and urbanization. Trees help to produce food, maintain ecological balance, improve air quality, improve climate, conserve water, preserve soil, support wildlife, reduce drought, and prevent soil erosion and pollution.

Deforestation is a major concern, and Van Mahotsav Week aims to bring together an increasing number of people in order to grow and save forests. According to reports, the Covid-19 pandemic had little impact in areas with a high population density and a high forest cover. Many organizations, including The World Wildlife Fund and Amazon Watch, are working hard this week to promote afforestation and raise awareness.

"Trees are Poems that Earth Writes upon the Sky."- Kahlil Gibran

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