AN INAUGURAL ceremony was held in the northern Indian city of Rishikesh to plant the first 15 of the 200,000 saplings by Parmarth Niketan and the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance.
The programme led by Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji aims to plant 200,000 saplings this year.
The inaugural ceremony of the planting programme was held on the occasion of ‘Basant Panchami’, an Indian festival that marks the preparation for the arrival of spring.
Baby Rani Maurya, governor of Uttarakhand state, who attended the event as the chief guest, was joined by the speaker of the state legislative assembly Premchand Agarwal, among others.
Indian lender HDFC Bank has donated 100,000 saplings to Parmarth Niketan and GIWA for the planting mission.
The first 100,000 saplings will be planted across Uttarakhand state and in the neighbouring regions by Parmarth Niketan, GIWA and Ganga Action Parivar.
Saplings will be planted at selected public places such as universities, hospitals, schools, railway stations and others.
Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, president of Parmarth Niketan, founder chair of GIWA, said: “We should celebrate all our occasions and festivals by planting and giving trees. If there are no trees, there is no water, and if there is no water, there is no life. Therefore, let us use every occasion to renew our green pledge.
“I appreciate the HDFC Bank for coming forward, under the leadership Shri Aditya Puri, managing director, HDFC, to donate the first one lakh trees to our Monsoon Greening Drive. I encourage all banks, businesses and institutions to come forward through their corporate social responsibility and human social responsibility (programmes) to plant trees and to end single-use plastic.”
The governor of Uttarakhand state, Baby Rani Maurya, said: “One of the simplest and most powerful ways each one of us can help reverse climate change is by planting trees. Therefore, I welcome youth, students and all organisations to join the government in this cause. This is a beautiful beginning from Rishikesh that I am sure will spread to the entire nation.”
Kumar Sanjeev representing HDFC Bank said: “HDFC is one of the most reputed banks in the world, and we are not only coming forward to support urban and semi urban communities but to provide financial security to rural areas. Trees to me are our investment in our present and in our future, and we are proud to be supporting this cause.”