A nine-year-old girl, who has been appointed as Manipur's green ambassador, has said she wants to be a forest officer when she grows up and generate awareness on environment conservation.
Elangbam Valentina Devi, a Class V student, was appointed as ambassador after a video of her crying inconsolably on seeing the two trees planted by her being cut down went viral on social media.
A resident of Hiyanglam Makha in Kakching district, the girl had planted two Gulmohar (royal poinciana) trees by the side of a river when she was in Class 1. On Saturday, the two trees were cut down for a project to widen a road beside the river.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced her appointment as the green ambassador last week. The chief minister also ordered the forest department to gift 20 saplings to Ms Elangbam to compensate for her loss.
Expressing gratitude over her appointment, the nine-year-old said she would reach out to people and explain to them the importance of conserving the environment.
"I don't understand why most people do not care about the importance of preserving our environment. I want to become a forest officer when I grow up and reach out to them and tell them it was necessary," she said.
Her father, Premkumar, said his daughter waters trees and flowering plants every day before going to school. "Elangbam had been nurturing several flowering plants and trees near our place for the past few years. The two Gulmohar trees were felled due to a road widening project. We could not have stopped it," he said.
A statement issued by the state Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) said Ms Elangbam has been appointed as brand ambassador for Chief Minister's Green Manipur Mission for one year "in recognition of her immense love and affection for trees and to generate mass awareness on conservation of environment".
It also said that Ms Elangbam will be a part of the government-sponsored plantation programmes.