New Delhi: Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan is fond of trees. His love for plants and greenery is evident in the fact that he has been planting a sapling every day since February 2021. For him, tree plantation is not a one-day affair or a photo opportunity. It’s a part of life. As India celebrates Van Mahotsav week (July 1-7), team NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India exclusively speaks with Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to know more about his love for trees and plantation and his ambitious state-wide plantation campaign. Sharing his love for nature and plantation, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said,
I feel like kissing the trees and their leaves. Sometimes, I want to give trees a tight hug. When I see my planted trees growing, I feel so good, I feel that I have accomplished something in my life. And to see the same tree blossom and give a new lease of life to the people around, is a divine feeling.
Talking about his state-wide plantation drive and how it came to life, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said,
During Van Mahotsav, I used to see people going around and giving lectures that we should plant more and more trees. I saw people coming together to do various plantation drives. But the issue is that on that one day, we may plant 1,000 trees but sadly they are not taken care of properly after that very day. That’s when the idea of a daily tree plantation came to my mind. I thought, what if every one of us plant trees on a daily basis in our own respective surroundings? What if we also take ownership of taking care of that very plant we have planted and see it bring a positive change in our environment? So, from February 2021, I made daily tree plantation my life’s motto.
Today, in Madhya Pradesh, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has started a programme called ‘Ankur’, wherein a portal has been made, in which people are asked to plant trees during weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, basically on whatever occasion they can. Explaining the role of the portal and the initiative, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said,
Planting trees is the best gift. We ask people to upload their pictures of the tree they have planted and also ask them to share updates and the status of the same tree after 30 and 75 days. We also give certificates to such warriors; we felicitate them once every year. In this way, we have started this tree plantation abhiyan (movement) and as per data till now, more than 68 lakh people in the state have planted trees and have successfully become a part of this initiative.
Explaining the benefits of tree plantation and how this practice will ensure a safe, secure and better future, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said,
I think it is the duty of every citizen, to plant more and more trees. I am happy that I am able to do so and many people have joined me in my mission. We all take out time for our daily rituals like eating food or taking a bath. In the same way, we can take out time for planting trees that give us all oxygen – the basic necessity of our life.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan also said that now on a daily basis, he plants an average of 10 trees. He said,
This is because now people know about my initiative, so wherever, I go, they make an arrangement for a tree plantation.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan further talked about river Narmada and said it is still one of the cleanest rivers in India. He added,
To further keep Narmada clean, we are in the process of setting up 18 sewage treatment plants, which will help keep the dirty water out of the river. We are also trying to plant more trees in the nearby areas of Narmada that will help solve issues of soil erosion and keep Narmada clean. Lastly, we are actively doing agricultural practices in the nearby areas of the river, which is chemical and pesticides free.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan signed off by saying that environment and cleanliness are two sides of the same coin. If there is cleanliness, our environment will automatically be healthy. He added,
Today, more and more people are getting aware and conscious about their surroundings. They are realising the need to co-exist with nature happily.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.