Van Mahotsav - The festival of life


Van Mahotsav day also known as the Forest day, is a festival related to environment and forests. In 1950s the seed of this festival was sown by then and first Union Minister for Agriculture Shri. K. M. Munshi to create an enthusiasm in the minds of the public for the preservation of forests and planting of trees. Since then, this festival is celebrated in all the Indian states every year during the month of July.

  Fig. 1 : Van Mahotsav banner at Nalapara  

In its original aim, through this festival every Indian citizen is expected to plant a sapling during the Van Mahotsav week. Besides this, the awareness campaigns are also organized about benefits and protection of trees and the harm caused by cutting down the trees.

In this regard, ICAR Research Complex for NEH region, Umiam, celebrated Van Mohatsav day on the 7th July, 2017 in the villages adopted under “Farmers’ FIRST project”. The program started at 11:30 a.m and was held in Nalapara village of Marngar. Scientists present during the occasion include Dr. J.J. Rajappa, Dr. R.K. Sanjukta and Dr. P.K Sinha along with Ms. Rimikini Laloo (SRF) and Mr. A. M. Tariang (Field Assistant) from the Division of Social Sciences.

Farmers from Nalapara, Umtham and Marngar areas attended the program and received saplings of different agro-forestry plants.

The scientist Dr. Rajappa J. J. stressed upon integration of multi-purpose trees on the line of agroforestry and crop husbandry. Dr. R. K. Sanjukta highlighted the importance of some agro-forestry crops along with their medicinal and nutritional value. She stated that farmers who grew crops like treebean would after fifteen to twenty years of cultivation generate incomes that could even cover expenditures on education and marriage of their children. Dr. P. K. Sinha mentioned that agroforestry will help in the economic integration of farmers through a system of multi-purpose agroforestry tree species which can be planted along cropping fields ensuring an additional source of income to the farmers.

The saplings of different agro-forestry plants of both local and native species such as treebean, bayleaf, agar, gooseberry and Micheliawere then distributed to the farmers present and these saplings were then planted in and around the farm lands of farmers in the ten adopted villages under Farmers’ FIRST project in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. The efforts of ICAR were successful to create awareness in the minds of the people regarding the conservation of forests and planting of new trees in and around the agricultural lands of the farmers.

Fig. 2: Farmers along with the saplings distributed   Fig. 3: Farmer using post-hole digger for planting treebean

Fig. 4 & 5 : Dr. J. J. Rajappa highlighting the importance of Van Mahotsav Day