Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said that development is absolutely necessary, but the people need to be responsible towards environment and it can’t be ignored and we all are facing the negative consequences of over-exploitation of nature by mankind for its selfish ends.
While inaugurating the two-day National Climate Conclave-2023 organised at Indira Gandhi Pratishthan, the CM said, “We are all aware of how environmentally friendly Indian tradition has always been. We are all the sons of the earth, according to a hymn from the Atharva Veda, so we should all feel connected to it. There is no need to tell what a son’s duty towards his mother is.”
Pointing out that today the world is facing the challenge of climate change, he said, “You must be experiencing unexpectedly heavy rains. In the past, the monsoon used to arrive earlier, around June 15, but last year we saw no rain in June, very little rain in July, and drought in August. The monsoon arrived in October, and for the first time in many years, the tragedy of a flood had to be dealt with in that month.”
Yogi said he had not experienced floods in October in the last 25 to 30 years, but this time it did occur. “In March of this year as well, it rained. It did not rain when the farmer needed water, but it did when the time came to reap the harvest, damaging the crops. It highlights the negative consequences of climate change. Because of what man has done to the environment out of selfishness, we are now suffering from its side effects,” he said.
He maintained that it is a matter of pride that India is guiding the world in this direction. He said Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India having more population than its area, but the state has enough water resources, fertile land, and at one time even had enough forest cover.
The CM said, “Forests were cut down as a result of the population boom. When the government was formed, I got a chance to go to the ‘Van Mahotsava’. I asked the department to proceed with it as a campaign. Five crore saplings were to be planted as the initial goal and ten crores the following year. We accomplished a great deal by planting 133 crore saplings over the past six years.”
He informed that the forest cover of the state has increased in the last six years along with awareness among people. “The Prime Minister has started several campaigns for water conservation. Every gram panchayat and every district was targeted to make 75 Amrit Sarovar within the state as a part of Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsava. It is a pleasure that this campaign started in every village in UP and 8,000 Amrit Sarovars have been constructed,” he said.
Yogi said the Forest Department launched a campaign for tree plantation in areas of lakes and he had also asked the department in 2019 to protect older trees by designating them as heritage trees in addition to planting new ones.
He said development is necessary, but obligations towards the environment and nature must not be forgotten. “Metro is operating in most of the cities in UP. We have implemented the scrap policy for diesel and petrol vehicles. By gradually removing diesel and petrol vehicles from the road, promotion of electric vehicles and green energy is accomplished. UP is producing maximum ethanol today. Together we have to take such programs forward,” he said.
The CM said the work of making agriculture poison-free has started. “In UP, we’re encouraging natural farming, and the Namami Gange project has produced some excellent outcomes. Before 2017, the dolphin in the Ganges had become extinct. From Prayagraj to Buxar, dolphins are now visible. 14 crore litres of sewage from Kanpur used to flow into the Ganga, today, not even a single drop does”, he said.
He said, “The central and state governments are taking various programs forward. The success of Prayagraj Kumbh attained in 2019 was a result of the Namami Gange project’s success.”
Highlighting the condition of the Sangam river during the previous governments, Yogi said in 2013, the Prime Minister of Mauritius visited Prayagraj Kumbh and upon seeing the filth on the Sangam beach, he bowed down from a distance and went back.
He said, “It was a coincidence that in 2019 the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya programme’ was organised in Varanasi and I had invited the Prime Minister of Mauritius to Prayagraj. When he reached the Sangam and saw lakhs of people taking bath, a delegation of 400 people along with him took the holy dip.”
The CM said the UP government has decided to protect cows and start a campaign for poison-free farming through cow-based farming. “Organic and natural farming is being done in 1.30 lakh hectares spread over 27 districts and Bundelkhand along the banks of the Ganga,” he said.