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Thiruvananthapuram: The ‘Ente Maram, Ente Jeevan’ (My Tree, My Life) initiative jointly organised by Asianet News and the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), and partnered with ERAM Group, here the other day set a new Guinness World Record for the maximum people ‘hugging’ trees simultaneously.

The event, held on the JNTBGRI premises at Palode, saw 4,620 people hugging trees to mark International Day of Forests.

P Sathasivam, Kerala Governor, inaugurated the event by embracing a tree himself. K Raju, State Forest Minister; MLAs D K Murali and K S Sabarinath; Loknath Behara IPS, State Police Chief; V K  Madhu, President, District Panchayat; Frank P Thomas, Director, Asianet News;  M G Radhakrishnan, Editor,  Asianet News and Dr. Siddeek Ahmed, Chairman, ERAM Group were present on the occasion.

‘Ente Maram, Ente Jeevan’ broke the existing record for the largest tree hug set by Tata Chem DAV Public School, Mithapur, Gujarat, in December 2016, in which 1,316 people had participated.

People from all walks of life poured into the sprawling bio-diversity rich premises of JNTBGRI from the morning to participate in the unique tree-hugging event. They erupted in joy as the representative of the Guinness Book of World Record declared it as a world record event of maximum people hugging trees simultaneously.

”The record to break was 1316. Final number today is 4,620. A new world record has been set,” announced Rishi Nath, Guinness World Records Adjudicator. He also handed over the official certificate to Frank P Thomas.

Besides setting a new world record, the event stressed the need for protecting the forests and environment. The participants took the pledge to conserve forests and protect trees. As a token of their resolve, they carried home saplings presented by the organisers.

Students of Al Iqbal College, Peringammala guided the participants into designated plots in the garden. Experts from the JNTBGRI were present at each plot to assist the representative of the Guinness Book of World Records.