Delhi

A Valentine’s Day appeal to save Aravalis

Green activists outside Haryana Bhawan after submitting a petition to CM Manohar Lal on Friday.

Green activists outside Haryana Bhawan after submitting a petition to CM Manohar Lal on Friday.   | Photo Credit: de15 aravalis

DU students send card made out of recycled paper to Haryana Chief Minister

This year’s Valentine’s Day was a special one for Aravalli Bachao citizens’ campaign – a movement against the Punjab Land Preservation (Amendment) Bill 2019 that was passed by the Haryana government last year amidst protests.

In a unique form of silent protest on Friday, Delhi University students along with a few people from Gurugram went to the Haryana Bhawan at Copernicus Marg in New Delhi with a Valentine’s Day card and a petition letter addressed to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal.

Green heart

The students presented the card, made out of recycled newspaper in the shape of a green heart with a few leaves and twigs pasted inside to represent the Aravali forests, to the officiating Resident Commissioner.

The card read: “Respected Chief Minister, A Very Happy Last Green Valentine’s Day! This is a plea from an unborn child, a pregnant woman, little children, teenagers, adults and ailing people. Please don’t destroy our Aravalis. The future of your family as well as ours is in grave danger. We don’t need development at the cost of our trees. Please save our Aravali forests!”

Petition submitted

The formal petition letter signed by all the students and other people was submitted to the Chief Minister’s desk. A file number to track the same was given to the students with the receiving note. Simran, a student from the College of Vocational Studies in Delhi who had made the card, said: “We wanted to convey to Haryana CM that our future is at stake. We love our Aravalis and will not allow our forests to be destroyed in the name of development. Aravali forests cover is less than 10% of Gurugram and South Haryana and less than 2% of the entire State. We have written to Mr. Lal that the Aravalis must be protected as a home for wildlife and for the other critical environmental benefits these forests provide in terms of being the green lungs of NCR, water recharge zone and our shield against desertification.”

Ayush, a student from the Delhi School of Social Work who went inside the Haryana Bhavan to hand the card and the petition, said: “By this unique protest on Valentine’s Day, we wanted to tell the Haryana CM that in this time of climate crisis when India is the 5th most vulnerable country to climate change, the youth is very saddened by this PLPAAmendment Bill which seeks to open 74,000 acres of our pristine forest areas in the Aravali range around Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad in South Haryana and Shivalik hills near Chandigarh when Haryana already has the lowest forest cover in India, just 3.59%, which is way below the national average of 20% forest cover.”

After the Bill was passed on February 27, 2020, the city saw massive protests from citizens in the National Capital Region and walk out by Opposition parties.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 7:34:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/a-valentines-day-appeal-to-save-aravalis/article30825223.ece

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