Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Three years and 3,000 saplings

Three years and 3,000 saplings

Eshwar Prasad at Thippagundanahally helping a supporter of Spoorthivana plant a sapling
Aniruddha Chowdhury
First Published : 26 Jan 2009 10:19:06 AM IST
Last Updated : 26 Jan 2009 01:53:14 PM IST

Bangalore, the Garden City? Or Bengaluru, the IT capital of India? A question which would be best answered by any of the gleaming skyscrapers or chopped down tree stumps which are both equally common in the city. Everybody notices the receding greenery in Bangalore, but its sad that the city and the people who make it a city, are more than willing to compromise the future for momentary and meaningless development But there are still few people who look ahead with a glint of optimism in their eyes, driven by a fierce commitment to bring back green to a concrete world. It’s high time that people stand behind such driven souls to ensure the world sees a better tomorrow.

Eshwar Prasad started out with his project, Spoorthivana, back in 2005.

He got the government to allot 500 acres for the cause, at Thippagundanahally reservoir cache, around 35 kms away from Bangalore near the confluence of the Kumudavalli and Arkavati rivers. The objective was to bring the people of Bangalore to adopt and plant saplings in the area, something they could not do for a lack of space in the city itself. Today the result is a green carpet which has been rolled out on what used to be a parched and barren piece of land. Over the last four years he got over 3,000 saplings planted in over 100 acres of the space alloted to his project. He has employed people living there to take care of the trees and they are provided with free houses and electricity, education for their children and food.

The journey was not half as smooth as the beginning, because what was essentially meant to be a people’s movement, turned out to be more of an elitist thing. Vijay Gore, former additional chief secretary, dedicated a sapling to his mother’s memory, which has grown to several metres now. The employees of Alcatel-Lucent Technologies adopted 257 saplings. The State Bank of India and State Bank of Mysore planted 200 saplings each. But where were the people who wanted wider roads and snazzy malls at the cost of our invaluable green cover? Was it the Rs 500 membership fee per sapling which kept them away? Hard to believe, considering the young workforce of Bangalore which drives international brands with their huge disposable incomes.

Eshwar believes that if even 1 % of Bangalore’s youth were to plant a sapling each, it would make a huge difference to the environment.

Eshwar says that people talk a lot about trees disappearing and most come across to be very concerned, but when it comes to small things they can do, most back out. People get rid of trees on their land for several insipid reasons, reasoning that one or two trees won’t make all that difference.

They forget there are thousands thinking exactly the same way. He talks about a glitzy branch of an international bank in Malleswaram which is trying hard to get rid of the green cover keeping the building away from the public eye.

Wonder why the very same corporates should be screaming their lungs out for a green revolution or something like it.


Post a Comment

<< Home