Kejriwal pitches for Bharat Ratna for environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna

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New Delhi, Jul 15 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday demanded that the country's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, be given to noted environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna posthumously.

The environmentalist, known for his pioneering role in the Chipko movement in Uttarkhand, died on May 21.

“I want to appeal to the central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Sunderlal Bahuguna should be honoured with the Bharat Ratna. If such a towering personality is honoured with the Bharat Ratna, it will be an honour for the award itself. This will inspire the youth of our country to realise the struggle he undertook in his life,” Kejriwal said.

He said he would write to the prime minister in this regard.

Kejriwal unveiled a commemorative stone portrait and took part in a tree plantation drive at the Delhi Legislative Assembly in memory of the revered environmentalist.

He also presented a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to Bahuguna’s family.

“By commemorating a figure like Bahuguna in this Assembly, we have purified the entire Legislative Assembly…such is his legacy.

“His fight and struggle along with his dedication will continue to motivate and inspire generations of citizens of not just Uttarakhand, but the entire country,” the chief minister noted.

He said to truly commemorate the memory of Bahuguna, it was important that the youth get motivated by his life and dedication to environment.

“Today people realise the importance of Bahuguna’s foresight. We now realise that if we continue to tamper with the environment, there will be a time when the entire humankind will cease to exist. We are now at such a stage that it is imperative for us to follow the principles laid down by Bahuguna through his constant struggle,” Kejriwal added.

Bahuguna’s portrait has been installed in the Smriti Gallery at the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

“Today, his portrait has been placed alongside the people who have together worked to make India what it is today. Whenever we visit the Vidhan Sabha, Bahuguna’s work, mission, visions and goals will not only guide us, but also inspire us,” Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said.

The Chipko movement, started by Bahuguna at the foothills of the Himalayas in 1973, was a forest conservation movement in India. It later became a rallying point for many environmental movements all over the world.

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