Governor Address at the Awards Presentation Ceremony to honour officers and field staff of the Forest Department for their distinguished service in Pune

    Publish Date: August 11, 2016

    Address by Shri CH Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the Awards Presentation Ceremony to honour officers and field staff of the Forest Department for their distinguished service (2013-2014) at YASHADA Samwad Hall at 1100 hrs on Thursday, 11th August 2016

    Shri Sudhir Mungantiwar, Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Planning and Forests, Shri Girish Bapat, Hon’ble Guardian Minister, Shri Raje Ambrishrao Atram, Minister of State for Tribal Development and Forests, Shri Dilip Kamble, Minister of State for Social Justice, Shri Prashant Jagtap, Mayor of Pune, Shri Pradip Kand, President, Zilla Parishad Pune, Shri Anil Shirole, Member of Parliament, Smt Medha Kulkarni, MLA, Shri Sarjan Bhagat, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Maharashtra, Shri Vikas Kharge, Secretary, Forest, officers, invitees, awardees, ladies and gentlemen,

    नमस्कार. आज येथे वन विभागाच्या क्षेत्रीय कर्मचार्‍यांचा तसेच अधिकार्‍यांचा पदक प्रदान करून सत्कार करताना खूप आनंद वाटला. मी आपणा सर्वांचे मनःपूर्वक अभिनंदन करतो.

    वृक्षवल्ली आम्हा सोयरे, असे संत तुकाराम महाराज म्हणाले होते. त्या वृक्षवल्लीचे आणि वनसंपदेचे आपण रक्षण आणि जतन केले आहे व करीत आहात, त्याबद्दल आपण अभिनंदनास पात्र आहात.

    This is a day of fulfilment for many of you. I am aware of the challenges faced by you while discharging your duties, – often in remote areas, and under trying circumstances.

    Many of you are required to stay away from your home for extended periods. The awards are recognition of your silent good work and your commitment in protecting and preserving our forests.

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    The State of Maharashtra has a varied and rich biodiversity and it is the duty of each one of us to do our bit for its protection.

    However, all of us must be conscious of the fact that drastic global climatic changes are taking place in the world and we are witnessing their impact in Maharashtra also.

    Forests are central to our existence and to our future. Forests are also critical to addressing climate change. Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Baan Ki Moon has rightly observed, “Investing in Forests is an insurance policy for the planet.” (unquote).

    It is therefore imperative that the issue of climate change gets reflected in our policy-making, planning and annual budget.

    I must say, the Hon’ble Minister of Forests Shri Sudhir Mungantiwar Ji has brought an element of dynamism to the movement for preservation of forests.

    I had the opportunity to participate, alongwith the Hon’ble Chief Minister, in the Vana Mahotsav organised in the State at his instance on 1st July. I was extremely happy to note that the target of planting 2 crore tress was surpassed by a huge margin and that 2.82 crore saplings were planted on a single day. This is a remarkable achievement and creditable to the citizens of the State and to all of you.

    The momentum that has been generated must now be maintained. I will call upon the Hon’ble Minister to evolve some kind of mechanism to check the status of the saplings that have been planted all over the State on that day. We must make sure that at least 2 Crore saplings survive and take roots.

    I understand from the Hon’ble Minister that the government plans to plant 3 crore saplings in 2017, 10 crore in 2018 and a record 25 crore in 2019. I have no doubt in my mind that we shall achieve the targets. Speaking for myself, I assure you of my personal commitment and wholehearted support to this campaign. Maharashtra must provide leadership to the nation in the conservation of forests.

    Secondly, people’s participation is critical in preserving forests and biodiversity. Using my powers derived from Schedule V of the Constitution, I have issued various notifications to strengthen the Gram Sabhas and empower the Scheduled Tribes living in the Scheduled Areas. I have been personally monitoring the conferment of individual and community forest rights under PESA and Forest Rights Act. People in the scheduled areas have also been granted rights over high-value Minor Forest Produce like Bamboo, Honey, Tendu leaves, etc. This has made them willing stakeholders in the cause of preservation and management of forests.

    The instances of man – animal conflicts are growing all over the country, including in various parts of the State. In some areas it is the leopard, in others it is tigers and in some cases it is the growing instances of crop damage by wild pigs, nilgai or blackbuck. Elephants are also causing trouble in some areas. Quite often the response from the people is knee – jerk. We have to adopt compassionate approach while dealing with the mute animals. These cases should be tackled with urgency so that the antagonism towards the animals subsides.

    My heart fills with sadness and anger when I read reports of animals like tiger being trapped, electrocuted or poisoned by poachers. We must bring such unscrupulous people to justice and take stringent action against the culprits as per the law. In this connection, I am pleased to note that technology is being harnessed in forest management and in handling wildlife crime. Use of technology in mapping the forests and monitoring animal movement is also appreciated.

    A couple of months ago, the Hon’ble Forest Minister and I had flagged off a rescue bike at Raj Bhavan to be given to forest guards. It was a novel experiment aimed at providing safety to the user. We must ensure the safety and security of our forest staff and increase their capability in handling cases of man-animal conflict.

    Increase in the global population is also accompanied by industrialisation and rapid urbanization. The demand for water resources is therefore bound to grow. We will have to lay greater thrust on management of water resources.

    Forests are regarded as earth’s water towers. We must therefore safeguard our forests which have the capacity to provide and purify our water resources. Needless to say, forest department officers and field level staff will have to play the most important role in this endeavour. I am passionate about preservation of forests and wildlife. I have therefore great expectations from each one of you and I believe you will rise to the occasion.

    I once again congratulate the recipients of the Medals and wish all of you continued success in your future endeavours.

    Thank you

    Jai HInd ! Jai Maharashtra !!