Shri Thounaojam Shyamkumar, Forests & Environment and Horticulture & Soil Conservation Minister inaugurated ‘Cherry Blossom Avenue’ at the newly inaugurated Santhai Natural Park in Andro, Imphal East today. The function was organised by the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) – a National Institute of Biotechnology, Government of India, Imphal, Manipur.

Cherry blossom, botanical name Prunus Cerasoides (Rosaceae), is popularly known as Sakura in Japan is a symbol of peace, prosperity and tranquillity. When the tree blooms, the flower covers the whole tree which lasts only for 10-15 days.

Speaking as the Chief Guest of the function, Minister Th. Shyamkumar instructed the local residents to nurture the cherry blossom tree saplings which were planted today. He cautioned that, the locals would be penalised for not taking care of the tree. He said the trees will bloom after three (3) years which will be a visual delight for all the local residents and tourists.

On the other hand, he asked the scientists of IBSD to utilise their advance skills and knowledge in developing the area. He informed the gathering that, the local residents have vowed not to cut a single tree as part of an initiative to protect and conserve the ecology.

Professor Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director of IBSD was hopeful that the Cherry Blossom Avenue at Andro will place Manipur on the global tourist map. He emphasised on planting different varieties of trees on a systematic manner so that it is visually appealing which can further attract tourists as well as to help in revenue and employment generation in the State. He also emphasised on need for water harvesting in hilly areas to avoid flooding of paddy fields to further avoid loss of economy.

Prof. Sahoo made a proposal to the State Government to organise Cherry Blossom Festival in Mao as being organised in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya. Mao has 20,000 trees of cherry blossom, which acts as carbon sink, he added. He also made a proposal to plant 5,000-10,000 cherry blossom trees at various tourist spots in Manipur like – Sendra, War Memorial. He was optimistic that IBSD in collaboration with the State Government can create several such avenues in the State to generate economy and to maintain ecology.

Minister Th. Shyamkumar also laid the foundation stone for Dam Community Hall at the area. Today’s function was attended by scientists and students of IBSD and councillors of Andro Assembly Constituency. Scientists & students of IBSD, media persons, councillors also planted cherry blossom tree saplings at the Santhei Natural Park, Andro.

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