Saturday, May 01, 2010
Gangtok, April 30: Foreign delegates who participated in an international seminar on Rhododendron Conservation and Sustainable Use held here yesterday lauded the Sikkim government for its efforts in protecting the state’s bio-diversity.
Experts from Germany, Holland, Sweden and Bhutan are here to participate in the Rhododenron Festival being organised by the state government this month.
“In Europe, we have rhododendrons cultivated for collections and parks but here in Sikkim, the plant’s various species are found in the wild and in their natural form,” Wolfgang Spethmann from Germany said. Spethmann is a researcher in woody plants like rhododendrons.
“It was a nice trip to Yumthang Valley. We saw more than a dozen species of the plant in bloom; the flowering was excellent and it was a wonderful sight. It is good to see that they are protected in the wild,” said Spethmann.
Lau Trass, who is a member of the Dutch Rhododendron Society, said it is always a wonderful experience for Europeans to see rhododendrons in bloom in their natural habitat.
“There is a special support from the Sikkim government for the conservation of rhododendrons and it makes the state one of the central places in the world where one can see and study different species of the rhododendron growing in their natural best,” said Trass.
Rebacca Pradhan from the Royal Society for Protection of Nature in Bhutan said bio-diversity conservation programmes in Sikkim would be successful, as the government itself was committed towards the environment.
“I feel that the conservation of the rhododendron within the natural habitat is the best approach. The state government has been successful in maintaining the natural habitation of the floral species,” said Chamling.
The chief minister also pointed out that the Khangchenjungha Biosphere Reserve and seven other wildlife sanctuaries have rhododendrons in their pristine state.
Two of them, the Singba and the Barsey sanctuaries are fully devoted to the conservation of one of the most beautiful wild genetic resource, the rhododendron, he said.
“My endeavour has been to promote a balanced growth in Sikkim by duly preserving everything in nature and bringing in the best practices of modern development instruments available in the world. This also means bringing in a paradigm shift in people’s mindset and way of life to harness the natural resources in a sustainable manner,” said Chamling.