Sikkim Government has allowed people from state to forge fraternal ties with trees. In this regard, State Forests, Department has issued notification titled Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Rules 2017.
The purpose of this move is to preserve trees by encouraging people to forge relationship of brotherhood or sisterhood with trees through tradition practice locally known as Mitini or Mith/Mit.
Provision of notification
State government allows any person to associate with trees standing on his or her private land or on any public land by entering into Mitini relationship. Person can also adopt tree as if it was his/her own child, in which tree will be called adopted tree. Person can also adopt or preserve them in remembrance of a departed relative in which case tree shall be called smriti tree.
In case person desires to enter into a relationship with a tree located on public land then permission from forests department needs to be taken. If an individual wants to forge relationship with tree which stands another person’s land, then concerned person shall execute agreement with owner and compensate him in terms of market value of timber or wood contained in tree.
It prohibits felling or damage to any tree registered as Mitini, smriti or adopted tree and points out that any such violation will be treated as forest offence.
Sikkim is one of cleanest and greenest north-eastern States. As per Forest Survey of India, 2015 forest cover of Sikkim is 47.80 % of State’s total geographical area. The recent notification has given formal recognition to age-old tradition of promoting amity between man and nature, particularly trees.