Isha Foundation wins Indira Gandhi Award for green project

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) The Coimbatore-based Isha Foundation – a spiritual organisation – led by seer Jaggi Vasudev has been awarded the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Award for its unique Project Green Hands that has revitalised vast tracts of fallow countryside in Tamil Nadu.

The award will be presented to Jaggi Vasudev June 5 – the World Environment Day – at the Vigyan Bhavan. The Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Award is the highest award for environmental initiative in India, a communique issued by the Isha Foundation said.

Statistics cited by the Isha Foundation, quoting government reports, said 26.68 percent of the total Indian landmass was under the forest cover. The desired goal of bringing 33 percent of the total land mass under the forest cover by 2012 remains a distant dream. In Tamil Nadu, besieged by water shortage and desertification, the forest cover is just 17.5 percent, the release said.

The Project Green Hands envisages to increase the green cover of Tamil Nadu by 10 percent through several afforestation campaigns in the next 10 years. Approximately, 114 million trees will be planted throughout the state as part of the greening drive. The project is affiliated to the United Nation’s Department of Public Information and United Nation’s Economic and Social Council.

It has also earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for planting the highest number of saplings in three days.

Green Hands volunteers have so far planted 82 lash saplings in 21 districts of Tamil Nadu. The project has enlisted the services of 20 lash volunteers and coordinates its operations with 75 organisations. The project also manages 400 nurseries across the state.