Patna: In a rare move to promote environmental awareness on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday tied rakhi to a tree here and urged the people to protect the state`s green cover.
Clad in his trade-mark white cotton kurta-pyjama, Nitish Kumar said: "I request people with folded hands to tie rakhis to trees to protect the environment. It will be a new beginning to save the earth and human beings."
He was followed by his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, who also tied a long cotton rakhi to the trunk of a tree in Rajdhani Vatika here.
Modi said visitors are being allowed free entry to the eco park on Raksha Bandhan with a condition that the they too will tie rakhis to trees inside the park and promise to protect greenery.
"Every person should plant at least one tree and protect it for green cover of the state," he said.
Many people, including leaders from the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), government officials and school children also took part in the initiative.
"We tied rakhis to trees to strengthen Nitish Kumar`s drive to protect the environment," said Amitesh Ranjan, a student.
Another student Sarah Imran told a news agency that it was an expression of their love and affection towards the environment.
"If we protect trees, they will protect us and we will be benefited in the time of global warming," she said.
Nitish Kumar Thursday kicked off the green drive from his native village Kalyanbigha in Nalanda district with the aim of increasing the state`s forest cover more than five times to 35 percent in a decade.
The green drive is the brainchild of the chief minister, who was impressed by Dharhara, a small village 230 km east of here in Bhagalpur district.
The village hit headlines two years ago as the villagers planted fruit trees, including mango and litchi, to celebrate the birth of every girl child there. Their pledge to nature has made the place a green haven.
According to official data, the state has only a fragile 6.87 percent forest cover. Forest officials admit that Bihar lost most of its green cover when the state of Jharkhand was carved out of it in 2000.
Undivided Bihar had a forest cover of 17 percent.