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Van Mahotsav is an annual tree-planting festival in India, celebrated in the first week of July. This movement was initiated in the year 1950 by India's then Union Minister for Agriculture, Kulapati Dr.K M Munshi.
This festival has gained immense national importance and every year, millions of saplings are planted all across India in observation of the Van Mahotsav week.
It is expected that every citizen of India has to plant a sapling in the Van Mahotsav week. It helps spread awareness amongst people about the harm caused by the cutting down of trees.People celebrate Van Mahotsava by planting trees or saplings in homes, offices, schools, colleges, etc. Awareness campaigns are held at various levels. Novel promotions like free circulation of trees are also taken up by various organizations and volunteers.
The planting of trees during the festival serves various purposes like providing alternative fuel, increase production of food resources, helps create shelter-belts around fields to increase productivity, provide food for cattle, offers shade and decorative landscapes, helps conserves soil deterioration, etc. The festival educates the awareness of trees among people and portrays the need of planting and tending of trees, as trees are one of the best ways to prevent global warming and reduce pollution. Van Mahotsava is celebrated as a festival of life. In India it was started as a crusade to save mother earth. The name Van Mahotsava means "the festival of trees". It began in July 1947 after a flourishing tree planting drive was undertaken in Delhi, in which national leaders like Dr Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru participated. The festival was simultaneously celebrated in a number of states in India. Since then, thousands of saplings of diverse species are planted with energetic participation of the locals and various agencies like the forest department.