Vice President M. Venkakaih Naidu said that environment protection and economic development must go together. He was addressing the Convocation 2018 of Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The Governor of Uttarakhand, Dr. Krishna Kant Pal, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President said that fundamental principle of forest management should be based on conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources. He further said that we need to employ environment friendly approach and we must live with nature for better future. It should be the sacred duty of everyone to plant and protect trees, he added.

The Vice President said that states must be incentivised for increasing forest cover. He further said that Niti Ayog, and the Centre must have provisions to encouraging states doing well, and top most priority must be given to the forest, rivers and the Mother Nature. Tree plantation and environment protection should become mass movement, he added.

Naidu said that the symbiotic association of man and forest is deeply embedded in the religious and the socio-cultural mind set of our countrymen and it is getting disturbed in recent times due to increasing demand of natural resources and lack of understanding about Mother Nature. He further said that the Indian culture has traditionally revered trees as holy symbols of divinity. It was considered as a sin to cut trees like Peepal which is called ‘Ficus Religiosa’, he added.

He said that there is a need to guide, provide knowledge to tribal or local communities on conservation techniques. He further said that foresters must be development facilitators and a growth enabler without compromising the national interest and the welfare of the people especially the tribal groups who depend on forests for their livelihood. India has come a long way in changing the management strategies from keeping people away from the forests for protection purposes to managing the forest with cooperation of people in the form of joint forest management, he added.

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