NOIDA, India, June 10, 2023: HCL Foundation (HCLF), which delivers the corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda of leading global technology company HCLTech, has renewed its partnership with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) for another three years to boost native biodiversity in the eco-sensitive regions of Uttarakhand.
Over the past five years, HCL Foundation and its partner INTACH planted over 13,550 saplings, including 11,300 Rudraksha saplings and 2,250 saplings of other associated native species, in 30 acres of community-owned land near Sentuna village, in Gangolgaon region of Gopeshwar, Chamoli district, and Aati village in Almora district. As part of the initiative, around 200 local communities (including NSS volunteers, members of Mahila mangal dal, farmers, school children and others) have participated in awareness campaigns and plantation and maintenance efforts.
The plantation has improved native biodiversity in the region with birds, animals and other species finding habitat in the planted areas. Many mammals (Barking deer, Blue sheep), birds (Laughing thrush, Grey treepie, Blue-capped Rock thrush), butterflies (Common sailor and Common banded peacock) and spiders (Giant wood spider) are routinely recorded by local communities and field teams.
The extended partnership aims to double down on the positive impact this unique initiative has been able to make in restoring native biodiversity and habitat in Uttarakhand. HCL Foundation aims to plant an additional 10,000 Rudraksha saplings and other native species in the region by 2026. It will also organize community awareness programs to restore degraded habitats and conserve native biodiversity.
“HCL Foundation’s successful drive against habitat degradation and native biodiversity loss in the region and its concerted efforts along with its NGO partner are helping support the fragile ecosystem in the Himalayan forests. The renewal of the MoU will contribute to India’s nationally determined climate change targets while preserving the natural ecology for future generations,” said G Asok Kumar, Director General, NMCG, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt. of India.
Dr. Nidhi Pundhir, Vice President, Global CSR, HCL Foundation, emphasized the need for cohesive action towards restoring degraded habitat with native biodiversity and applauded the government’s efforts in this regard. “At HCL Foundation, we have always taken a holistic approach to promote the restoration of natural ecosystems. We always work to support a strong and thriving ecosystem while honoring the rich cultural and religious heritage connected to it by promoting the plantation of native species in the Ganga catchment area. This renewed MoU will play a critical role in engaging local stakeholders in community-based habitat restoration,” she said.
The tripartite MoU was signed by G Asok Kumar, Director General, NMCG, Ministry of Jal Shakti; Dr. Nidhi Pundhir, Vice President, Global CSR, HCL Foundation and Manu Bhatnagar, Principal Director, Natural Heritage Division, INTACH in the presence of other esteemed dignitaries in New Delhi.