Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Invoke friendship ‘Mith’ ties with trees - Pawan Chamling

Gangtok: Sikkim Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Chamling on Sunday June 5 invoked an ancient friendship tie ‘Mith’, practiced by Nepali speaking community, to attract present-age school students to an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
The practice, ‘Mith’ ties one person with another person outside his clan in an eternal friendship bond passed down to each successive generation. Once a person pledges ‘Mith’ with another individual, both are part of each other’s happiness and sorrows in life. However, such long lasting friendship bond is out of fashion in today’s world.
“The lifestyle of students in Sikkim must be environmentally friendly and we want Sikkim to be exemplary in the world toward environment protection. Let us from today start a new concept of pledging ‘Mith’ with trees so that we protect them for generations”, said Dr. Chamling while addressing students and senior government officials during the World Environment Day celebrations here at Gangtok organized jointly by forest and human resource development departments.
“Our community had the practice of declaring ‘Mith’ with one another. That person whom our forefathers used to have ‘Mith’ was dearer than the family members and such tie goes on for generations. So, let us now pledge such tie with trees in our neighbourhood. I request the students to initiate this concept”, said the Chief Minister.
Highlighting initiatives taken by his government since 1994 towards protection of forests and wildlife in Sikkim, Dr. Chamling also proposed another measure to derive economic benefit by protecting large trees in the State.
“In other places, there are big trees which are revered and protected by local communities as ‘Devi Thans’ or ‘Mother Tree’. Let us also have this concept here in Sikkim and integrate it with tourism. We will scout for large trees in Sikkim and term them as ‘Blessing Trees’. Then put them in tourism brochures and spread word around that by hugging such ‘Blessing Trees’, one’s wishes will be fulfilled. We can also charge money from tourists for hugging these trees and the whole exercise becomes productive”, said the Chief Minister.
Chamling also presented ‘Chief Minister’s Green School Rolling Trophy’ to Middle Camp government senior secondary school on the occasion for having the most environmental conscious students among the 182 schools in Sikkim registered as ‘Green School’ under the forest department.
The award also carried a cash prize of Rs. 50,000. The next top four schools also received Green School award with a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 each. The awards had been institutionalized from this year.
As a further green encouragement towards students, the Chief Minister announced to enhance the Green School Rolling Trophy prize amount to Rs. 5 lakhs and Green School prize amount to Rs. 1 lakh each. He directed the department concerned to issue the remaining amount to Middle Camp government senior secondary school and other four schools immediately.
“These students are doing great service towards protection of environment and what they will do with a mere Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 25,000? If they received Rs. 5 lakhs or Rs. 1 lakh, at least they will be able to do some visible work in their schools. Let us have large hearts while working to protect environment”, said Chief Minister.
“Under the Green School programme, we have 182 schools registered at secondary and senior secondary levels and the programme seeks to enhance a student’s hands on knowledge on the best practices of environment conservation”, said forest secretary Mr. ST Lachungpa.

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