Gangtok, Feb 02 (IPR): Sikkim will now be observing the first week of July as ‘Santati Saptah’ annually as a part of the new environmental initiative of the State government – ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati.’This was announced today during the launch of ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ by Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang at Manan Kendra in Gangtok.
‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ is a novel green initiative conceived by Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang that entails planting 100 saplings per child born in the State and will be a part of the annual calendar of events beginning this year. This initiative aims to strengthen and reinforce the connect between parents, children, and nature by planting trees to commemorate child birth while catering to the commitment of the State toward the conservation of the environment.
The ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ initiative was launched by Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang today in the presence of Minister of Forest and Environment, Shri Karma Loday Bhutia, Chief Secretary Shri V.B. Pathak, Director General of Police, Shri A.K. Singh, MLAs, Advisors, Chairpersons, Deputy Mayor (Gangtok Municipal Corporation) along with officials and representatives of various line departments. The programme was also attended by Zilla Panchayat representatives, BDOs, ASHA and Anganwadi workers from various districts of the State.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang congratulated the Forest Department and all the line departments for the successful conceptualization of ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ and said that the initiative would not only help in reinforcing the age-old bond of Sikkimese society with Mother Nature but will also accentuate the undeniable efforts of the State government in conserving the environment.
Shri Tamang said that the Forest Department has facilitated various modes for enrollment and registration of the newborns for the ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ initiative and added that after due consideration of the plantation season in the State, the plantation drive would continue annually throughout the first week of July. The saplings will be provided by the Forest and Environment Department with other line departments and ASHA/Anganwadi workers who will be assisting with onboarding the new parents ensuring seamless delivery of services, he added.
Quoting the ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ as a ‘revolution’ to protect Mother Nature, the Chief Minister urged for widespread awareness of the initiative at the grassroot level to march towards the common goal of making Sikkim the Green State of the country and achieve sustainable prosperity in the State. He stated that it is the duty and responsibility of every citizen of the State to safeguard forests and the environment as they are subjects of prime importance for public interest and added that preservation works would require the utmost cooperation and support of people from every walk of life. He also highlighted various eco-friendly policies of the State government and shared the prospects of Sikkim hosting Forest Festivals.
Shri Prem Singh Tamang further announced that non-government service parents with 1-2 children will now be granted baby maintenance allowance of Rs. 5000/month and Rs. 10,000/month for parents with more than two children. Both of the parents should not be government job holders, he mentioned.
Addressing various health concerns in the State, Shri Tamang suggested people to undergo thorough body check-ups once a year and urged all to maintain a healthy diet and avoid intake of unhealthy food such as ajinomoto. He also addressed the controversy over the Supreme Court verdict on the Sikkimese Nepali community and assured that the State government has initiated reformatory steps to address the concerns of the Sikkimese Nepali community.
In his keynote address, Chief Secretary, Shri V.B. Pathak, said that the democratic governance in Sikkim has followed the principles of reaping benefits from nature through non-evasive means and extended gratitude to the Chief Minister for his noble initiative of ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ that promises a brighter tomorrow, filled with vitality, health, and happiness. He further stated that the initiative would generate a sense of affinity and reverence for nature and compassion for flora and fauna in the State and leave a better environmental legacy for future generations. ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ abhiyan will embrace plants as one’s child or friend and improve the tree cover in the State as a step towards making Sikkim climate change resilient, said the Chief Secretary.
Minister of Forest and Environment, Shri Karma Loday Bhutia, in his address, covered the salient features of ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ initiative and informed that the Forest Department, in convergence with the Departments of Health & Family Welfare, Women & Child Welfare Department and Rural Development Department will ensure necessary requirements for the successful implementation of the initiative which will cover linking of Birth Registration with the MRMS platform, and provision of 100 saplings by the Forest and Environment Department and other Departments where applicable. He added that a hassle-free registration with Google forms is available at the nearest GVK/BAC/Forest Range Office and a dedicated WhatsApp Number for any query/assistance (74310-00333).
Shri Karma Loday Bhutia further placed various demands for the Forest Department field staff, to which the Chief Minister has assured to look into their demands and take appropriate action.
During the launch programme, the logo and radio jingle of ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ was unveiled through the hands of the Chief Minister, followed by the release of brochures and posters and the presentation of Mothers AV Clip and Enrollment demonstration video.
The event also featured an informative and entertaining Nepali skit, ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati,’ presented by Shri Chunilal Ghimire and his team of talented artists, which garnered high appreciation from the gathering.
The melodious theme song of ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ was also presented by singers Shri Thupden Bhutia and Ms. Snehshree Thapa.
On the occasion, saplings were also presented to seven new mothers from the State.
Earlier, the welcome address was delivered by Secretary Forest and Environment Department, Dr. Pradeep Kumar, wherein he briefed the gathering about the ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ initiative.
Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Shri Tshewang Gyaccho, proposed the vote of thanks.