The day dedicated to Earth will be observed on the closing day of ‘Van Mahotsav Week’ on July 7 Credit: Representational image

Gangtok: The Sikkim government has come out with a unique initiative to spread awareness about climate change. On July 7, it has asked all motorists of the state to stop their vehicles for 7 minutes at 11 am to dedicate a ‘Day for Mother Earth’. As per reports, the government is also planning to make it an annual affair from now on.

“With an aim to work towards contributing to the national target of carbon sequestration [of 3 billion tonnes from forests] by 2030, we have come up with this unique idea. On July 7, on the closing day of ‘Van Mahotsav Week, all vehicles will stop for 7 minutes at 11am and dedicate the day to mother earth,” said forest minister Karma Loday Bhutia during a recent press conference.

However, ambulances, police and fire services vehicles will be exempted for emergency services, he added.

“This endeavour aims to contribute towards nationally determined contributions and sustainable development goals for positive climate action. As citizens, it is our duty and responsibility to be aware and conscious about the environmental issues and put green ideas and good green good deeds in action,” Bhutia said.

On choosing July 7 for the occasion, Bhutia said 7 is a lucky number. “So, we have chosen the ‘777’ concept – 7th minute of the 7th day of the 7th month of the year as a good omen,” he added.

Also Read: ‘SPG security to ex-Sikkim CM Chamling false, were hired guards’

The forest minister further appealed the public and vehicle operators to cooperate in making the programme a grand success.

Sikkim forest minister Karma Loday Bhutia (left) and principal secretary ML Srivastava during a press conference in Gangtok

Principal secretary (forest) ML Srivastava highlighted the initiatives taken by the state government in relation to environment conservation. “Up to 31% of Sikkim are protected areas, which is not the case in any state in the country. Kanchenjunga Biosphere and Kanchenjunga National Park are globally recognised areas. Sikkim has a total of 47.8% forest and tree cover areas which benefits nature,” he said.

On the recent pangolin case, Srivastava said that wildlife protection has been strengthened. “We are also seeking help from the Wildlife Institute of India in this regard. Once the case is solved by the West Bengal police and if anyone from the state is found guilty, strict action will be taken,” he announced.

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