On the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami a beautiful inauguration ceremony took place at the Rishikesh Railway Station, ahead of the upcoming monsoon season, to plant the first of 15 of the two lakh trees this season by Parmarth Niketan and the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, under the leadership and inspiration of HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. The special event was graced by Her Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand Smt Baby Rani Mauryaji as the Chief Guest and joined by Hon’ble Speaker of Legislative Assembly, Uttarakhand Shri Premchand Agarwalji, Hon’ble Mayor of Rishikesh, Smt Anita Mamgain, Director of AIIMS Rishikesh, Dr Ravi Kantji and Mr Kumar Sanjeevji, Branch Banking Head of UP and Uttarakhand. The occasion was especially organised to celebrate the donation of the first one lakh trees by HDFC Bank to Parmarth Niketan and GIWA for this noble cause.
The first one lakh trees, mainly of fruit giving, soil retaining and/or medicinal plants, would be planted across Uttarakhand and some in Northern India region by Parmarth Niketan, GIWA and Ganga Action Parivar in select public locations such as Universities, Hospitals, Schools, Railway Stations and other public locations. The event began and concluded with an energetic National Anthem, inaugurated with lamp lighting ceremony and was rich with inspiring words and messages of our respected dignitaries.
Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan, Founder/Chair of GIWA, shared, “We should celebrate all our occasions and festivals by planting and giving trees. If there are no trees there is no water and if there is no water there is no life. Therefore, let us use every occasion to renew our green pledge.”
He added,”I appreciate the HDFC Bank for coming forward, under the leadership Shri Aditya Puri, Managing Director, HDFC, to donate the first one lakh trees to our Monsoon Greening Drive. I encourage all banks, businesses and institutions to come forward through there Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Social Responsibility to plant trees and to end single use plastic.”
Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand Smt Baby Rani Mauryaji said, “One of the simplest and most powerful ways each one of us can help reverse climate change is by planting trees. Therefore, I welcome youth, students and all organisations to join the government in this cause. This is a beautiful beginning from Rishikesh that I am sure will spread to the entire nation.” She added that Universities in Uttarakhand would be amongst the first places to welcome this tree plantation initiative in their campus.
Hon’ble Speaker of Legislative Assembly, Uttarakhand Shri Premchand Agarwalji said, “Pujya Swamiji always inspires us to plant and gift trees. I personally have committed to spreading and sharing trees on special occasions. If each one us commits to being the change we want to see in the world then our communities and our countries will be happier, healthier, cleaner and greener places for all.”
Hon’ble Mayor of Rishikesh, Smt Anita Mamgain shared, “Planting trees is important but taking care of them and ensuring they survive and thrive is the even more important. Let us commit to not just planting these trees but to protecting and preserving them.”
Director of AIIMS Rishikesh, Dr Ravi Kantji shared, “Trees are the doctors and healers of our Earth. By planting trees we are not only protecting the health of our planet but conserving our future.”
Mr Kumar Sanjeevji, HDFC Branch Head of UP and Uttarakhand added, “HDFC is one of the most reputed banks in the world and we are not only coming forward to support urban and semi urban communities but to provide financial security to rural areas. Trees to me are our investment in our present and in our future and we are proud to be supporting this cause.”
Joining the project as an Implementing Partner is Grow Trees organisation, whose head Shri Vikrant Tiwariji was also present on the occasion. Mr Anuj Raj, Circle Head, HDFC, Station Master Shri Meena and the Master of Ceremonies for the event was Director of Programme Implementation, Integration and Communication, GIWA, Sushri Ganga Nandini.
The ceremony concluded with a beautiful plantation ceremony with a beautiful Rudraksha sapling planted by the dignitaries, followed by children and teachers and dignitaries from nearby schools joining together to plant trees. There was also a beautiful water blessing ceremony and pledge to encourage plantation of trees and ending the use of single use plastic.