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Published on Oct 3, 2013
Yet another path-breaking green initiative of the Hon'ble Chief Minister, 'Ten Minutes to Earth' remains unmatched in the world. Six lakh saplings of trees and flowering species are planted within 10 minutes across Sikkim every monsoon since 2009! This will help in sequestering of 1400 tons of carbon dioxide annually! In the inaugural year on July 15, thousands of Sikkimese people stopped all their activities and waited for the clock to tick 10.30 am. As the clock announced the moment, people pledged themselves to Mother Earth for 10 minutes and undertook the planting drive creating a new world record. The idea was to plant population equivalent to the population in Sikkim. One Person, One Tree, One Time. Though the timings and day vary, Sikkimese people under the dynamic leadership of the Hon'ble Chief Minister devote their time to plant saplings every July 15 during the 'Ten Minutes to Earth' programme. The initiative is a people's programme and is in the highest tradition of Indian civilization values. Various experts have suggested replication of 'Ten Minutes to Earth' programme of Sikkim at national and global levels. Over the years, people of Sikkim have given a social attachment to the 'Ten Minutes to Earth' programme. Villagers undertake planting drives to celebrate a happy occasion or to dedicate saplings in memory of a deceased fellow villager. Such stories have been an integral part of the environmentally conscious Sikkimese people. The Forest department provides free saplings to other departments, Central agencies, organizations and individuals for undertaking the planting drive. Focus is given on indigenous plants like rhododendrons and local trees like Chaap, Cherry, Guava and Pompsey. The department also gives attention on maintaining the saplings planted annually. In urban areas where spaces are limited for people to plant trees, ornamental flowers and shrubs like Azlia are provided so they are planted in pots. The 'Ten Minutes to Earth' programme truly demonstrates why the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Sikkim is the 'Greenest Chief Minister' in the nation.