GANGTOK: What if we told you that you could adopt a brother or a sister that doesn't bother you (or talks at all) while also helping the environment? It sounds like an offer that's too good to be true, and it is.
Sikkim, has started a program that lets people adopt trees in order to promote bond-building between people and fauna.
Pawan Kumar Chamling, said to be the greenest Chief Minister in India, presented the idea to Principal Chief Conservator of Forests in Sikkim, Thomas Chandy.
The Forests, Environment & Wildlife Management Department's Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Guidelines 2017 cover the new rules for creating a personal relationship with a tree. You could formally adopt a tree and join a Mitini or Mith relationship, which translates to a sibling connection, under these circumstances. You can also adopt a tree as a youngster or in commemoration of a deceased family member.
The rules to adopt a tree in Sikkim come with a full-fledged formal process.
There are forms to fill and documentation to submit to the forest authorities if you want to adopt a tree. After this, the application is verified before being approved.
After this process is completed, the department issues a certificate with the coordinates of the tree and just like that; The tree could belong to somebody else or be part of someone else's property, but the living being itself becomes part of your family. !
You also have to enter into an agreement with the owner of the tree as a property, if there is any. The agreement would usually involve some sort of payment to the owner.
The process is simple.
1. Pick a tree
This tree can be both on your personal property, or in a public area. If you would like to adopt a tree on someone else's property, Sikkim's rules require that the owner be compensated the full amount of the market value of the timber to be obtained from the tree, and both parties must enter into the agreement.
2. Fill out the required forms
Depending on the type of relationship you would like to forge, the government has a special form. This is available on the government website and requires you to detail the reasons why you wish to adopt a tree.
3. Assessment by the Assistant Conservator of Forests
The Assistant Conservator of Forests will investigate whether or not the tree is available for adoption, to form a Mit/Mith or Mitini relationship. Once the tree is approved, the Assistant Conservator will provide you with a date, in which you can perform any ritual you see fit and make an entry in the official register.