October 19, 2015
To commemorate the birth anniversary of late APJ Abdul Kalam, L. Gopinath, founder of Coimbatore based Sri Annai Karangal Association, decided to plant 5,000 saplings in the city. “One of the dreams of our late President was to plant more trees and on his birth anniversary, I decided to contribute to his dream,” Gopinath says.
The planning to achieve this ambitious task started a few months ago. One of the regions that lacked trees was identified. The Gudalur Periyanayagam panchayat was chosen for this mission. This is a rural area that is literally cut off from the city of Coimbatore. Gopinath tells us that this area also lacks a green cover. This is one of the reasons why this particular area was chosen to implement this ambitious project.
The Gudalur Periyanayagam panchayat has in total 18 wards. A fortnight ago, a team of volunteers visited this area and identified locations where the trees can be planted. The group of volunteers also dug the area up to 300 meters. The basic work like planting the seeds was also carried out.
In the mean time the group of volunteers from Sri Annai Karangal Association went around sourcing funds for their project. “All the saplings are planted with tree guards. We used only bamboo tree guards for all the 5,000 saplings.” Gopinath says. Funds for the tree guards and the seeds came from corporate houses in the city.
To plant 5,000 trees in 18 wards, various schools and colleges in the city were asked to send their students as volunteers. Participating schools and colleges include; Kalaivani College of Technology, R V College of Engineering, Pioneer College of Arts and Science, NSS students of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya College of Arts and Science , and K. Rangaswamy Naidu Higher Secondary School. A team of 50 Home Guards personnel of the Coimbatore District were also actively involved in planting saplings.
The students of Care Nursery and Primary School enacted a drama to convey the various teachings of the former President APJ Abdul Kalam. A majority of students were dressed as his look alike. In all there were about 800 student volunteers who participated in this event. Corporate house VWR Technologies also sent about 150 of its employees as volunteers.
A variety of trees like guava, papaya, neem, banyan, coconut, gooseberry saplings were planted. Gopinath tells us that 15 such variety of trees were planted. It took two hours, 2,000 volunteers to plant 5,000 saplings in the 18 wards of Gudalur Periyanayagam panchayat. The entire project costed Rs. 7,00,000. Breakfast and lunch were organized for the volunteers. All of them were given a certificate in appreciation of their participation. Educational institutions who sent their students as volunteers were recognized with a trophy for their involvement.
Having achieved this mission Gopinath tells us the as a follow up to ensure that the 5,000 saplings grow as they ought to, a team of volunteers will pay regular visits on a weekly basis to inspect the saplings. The residents of the various wards have taken up the responsibility to water the saplings.