Campaign to save girl child, environment in Punjab

August 25th, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Aug 25 (IANS) Based on the thinking that both a woman and trees nurture families and planet earth, respectively, without any reciprocity, a novel campaign to save both is being launched in Punjab Wednesday.The campaign, ‘Nanhi Chhaaon’ (Little shadow) is being undertaken jointly by the Punjab government, the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) and a corporate house to highlight why the girl child and environment need to be protected for the future.

Saplings of trees will be distributed to women along with holy water from the ’sarovar’ (holy pool) around the ‘Harmandar Sahib’ (Golden Temple) - the holiest of Sikh shrines in Amritsar - and other SGPC-controlled gurudwaras to be planted in their homes. These will be called ‘buta prasad’ (offering of saplings).

The first saplings would be given away Wednesday from the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.

The campaign is the brainchild of Ranbaxy Laboratories chairman Harpal Singh.

The focus on the girl child is being stressed as Punjab has one of the worst sex ratios in the country - an alarming 800 females per 1,000 males.

A state government spokesman said Monday that the campaign is aimed at generating awareness against female foeticide and also the declining tree cover in Punjab.

The plan is to get the saplings planted at home either by a bride who comes into her new home or by the mother who gives birth to a girl child or by daughters.

The saplings selected for the campaign would be of the plants and trees mentioned in Sikh religious scriptures. These would particularly include ‘Neem’ and ‘Ber’, which are suitable for the environment.

Punjab’s Environment and Non-Conventional Energy minister Bikram Singh Majithia said that women have a special place in Sikh scriptures and they could lead a fight against female foeticide and also to protect environment.

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