New Delhi: India`s biggest challenge is to achieve economic growth while conserving forests and keeping its rivers clean, Minister of State for Environment Jairam Ramesh said Monday.
Speaking on the World Forestry Day, Ramesh said the pressure of the increasing population and work done in the name of development are harming the forests and rivers tremendously.
"We have to achieve economic growth along with conserving forests and keeping our rivers clean. Our culture and traditions teach us to preserve our forests and natural resources," Ramesh told reporters here.
Ramesh has been at loggerheads with various ministries for delaying several mining and infrastructure projects.
"We must finish de-greening before we start green projects. The de-greening has been created by industrial construction," Ramesh said.
The minister also urged schools, colleges and NGOs to support the government in the movement to conserve environment.
Prizes were distributed to the winners of a painting competition organised on the theme of enviroment conservation. More than 100 students from Class 1 to Class 12 from 32 schools in the national capital region participated in this competition.