“Mother Earth is all we have in common. Let’s also preserve it for future generations.”
– Vijay Darda
Vijay Darda follows the cardinal principle of nature taught by Jain saints, which believes in showing reverence to all forms of life. He emphasizes that Jainism is a religion of ecology that has enabled him to create an eco-friendly value system. He has been on the forefront of promoting environmental awareness through his various endeavours.
Lokmat Media Group, under the guidance of Darda, set up 10 solar power plants across Maharashtra, making it the first and only media house in the country to generate green energy for printing newspapers. In 2010, he also launched the Lokmat Green Initiative that involved planting of one lakh saplings within a day.
As a Parliamentarian, Darda was a member of the Environmental Appraisal Committee, Ministry of Environment & Forests. He was on the advisory board of National Tiger Conservation Authority and Indian Institute of Forest Management. He also ran ‘Lokmat Project Pishvi’, an initiative to make Pune city plastic free.
Darda scrupulously followed up in Rajya Sabha on issues like combating global warming, cleaning of the Yamuna river and depleting forest cover in the country. He also proposed the installation of surveillance systems at national parks to check poaching, as well as to mitigate the illegal trade of leopard’s skin and body parts.
He introduced a Private Member’s Bill on The Electronic Waste (Handling and Disposal) in 2005 and highlighted the mishandling of e-waste that has hazardous impact on the environment and human health. The Bill sought to prescribe norms on a disposal regulatory system and fixing duties on manufactures, recyclers and consumers.
Darda published a book ‘Wildscapes’ by famous photographer Baiju Patil, that comprises wildlife photographs from national parks and sanctuaries of the country. It was released at the hands of renowned industrialist Mukesh Ambani at a function presided over by Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan in 2011. He also published ‘Sahyadri cha Varsa’, a coffee table book that illustrates the mesmerizing natural beauty of the Western Ghats.
Darda has been actively writing on environmental issues through his weekly columns and social media published across national and regional dailies. He is vocal on social media about the consequences of climate change and declining biodiversity. He also hosted an eye-opening session on the topic ‘Conscious Planet’ with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder of Isha Foundation.
Setting an example for the future, Darda is working on an ambitious goal to achieve zero carbon footprint in all his business ventures and infrastructure projects.