For most people, Sikkim might seem no different from Manipur or Assam but those who know, know that this is one of the progressive states as far an environment and quality of life is concerned.
It is India's first and only open defecation-free state and not just this, no one litters there, no one smokes in public places and no one uses plastic. How many of our so called urban and modern states talk about such maturity? Its Clean Sikkim Mission began way back in 2003, 11 years before we ushered in the Swachh Bharat move. That’s not all – Sikkim also holds the distinction of being the first organic state of India and has set itself the lofty target of becoming poverty free by 2019 as currently 8% of its population lives below the poverty line.
And now one more innovative way to protect the trees. In Sikkim you can now adopt a tree. An individual can enter a Mith/Mit or Mitini relationship with a tree, which literally means taking a sibling. Trees can also be adopted by those who prefer a paternal relationship, or register a Smriti tree in remembrance of a departed relative.
This is done in a formal way; you need to fill and submit forms and submit documents. The tree will be registered under the individual’s name after due verification and scrutiny. The trees registered may be part of the person’s property or belong to someone else. In the latter scenario, an agreement will have to be signed between the individual and the owner along with some compensation. In case of the tree growing in a public space, permissions will have to be sought from the concerned government department. Any damage to a registered Mith, adopted or Smriti tree will be treated as a forest offense.
This idea has come from none other than the Chief Minister of the state. How many Chief Ministers think about the environment at all? Fadnavis, please take note.
If only every state of India set for itself these basic objectives first rather than emerge as the most modern or smart?