Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Tamang has launched an initiative under which 100 trees will be planted for every child born in the Himalayan state.
The initiative, named ‘Mero Rukh Mero Santati’ (Plant a Tree, Leave a Legacy), is aimed at strengthening the connect between parents, children and nature by planting trees to commemorate childbirth, officials said.
“Watching the trees grow as the baby grows will be a symbolic way of welcoming a newborn and commemorating their arrival on this earth. This is the first of its kind innovative green initiative in India,” Tamang said.
At the programme on Thursday, the chief minister also distributed token seedlings to some new parents.
Forest department secretary Pradeep Kumar said the initiative will transform the attitude of the people towards nature, and saplings planted to commemorate childbirth will create a bridge between the generations.
Tamang said the Sikkimese society has an intimate association with nature since time immemorial.
“We not only revere our mountains, lakes, rivers, caves and springs, but venerate the entire landscape as sacred,” he said.
“This initiative aims to reinforce this age-old bond of our society with nature. It aspires to co-create an ecosystem where both the tree and the child are able to reach towards the sun, a brighter tomorrow that promises vitality, health and happiness,” he added.
Chief secretary VB Pathak said that for the success of the initiative various departments of the state government will need to converge to facilitate seamless service to the new parents — right from enrolment to planting and aftercare.
ASHA and Anganwadi workers, panchayats, civic bodies and forest staff will need to facilitate the onboarding of the parents, he said.
Digital platforms such as WhatsApp, email and web portal have been enabled to connect with the new parents, he said.
Sikkim has a population of about 6.32 lakh, according to the Sikkim Information Commission.