August 2, 2015
Kovaiites still remember the active participation and involvement of Missile Man of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, for whom ‘Siruthuli’ was close to his heart. Eyes welling with tears, the members of Siruthuli recall the day when he planted a Peepal tree which now stands tall at the VOC Park. In fact, the entire city of Coimbatore was special for him.
RAAC Raveedran of Siruthuli told Covai Post that Kalam had appreciated the eco initiative of Siruthuli right from the time he became the President of India. He always gave his full support to Siruthuli and made it a point to attend as many functions as possible in Coimbatore.
“We still remember when Kalam interacted with the school kids of Siruthuli at the Nani Palkiwala Auditorium and gave away prizes to the winners of the green contests. The incident at Circuit House is unforgettable for me. That was when I met him along with Vanitha Mohan,Mylswamy, Rajesh Govindarajulu, and Kesavan. He made us sit down
for a while and drew roadside rain water harvesting structure’s cross section and gave very valuable suggestions on tree planting and construction of check dams,” Raveendran said.
Kalam always spoke about the good work of Siruthuli during his presidency, and after the end of his tenure. His personal attention was noteworthy for in one of the letters to Siruthuli he had written the word “Uruni” (village water tank) in Tamil using his trademark green ink pen.
It was with Siruthuli that he celebrated his 80th birthday, in the lap of the mighty Western Ghats. Thousands of children participated in the programme from places as far as Udumalpet.
A few years later Siruthuli took up the massive task of restoring Periya Kulam on Ukkadam. Thousands of volunteers from across the city took part in this noble task, Sunday after Sunday. The tank now enriches the city’s aquifers in a big way. When Kalam came to know about it, he wanted to visit Periya Kulam. Siruthuli fulfilled his wish by organizing a glittering function near the tank.
Kalam used to be regularly in touch with Siruthuli and would often talk to Vanitha Mohan about the green progress being made in Coimbatore. He wanted Coimbatore to be water-rich, garbage-free green city by 2020. He wanted to plant 1000 trees in the city. It is up to the Kovaiites to make this dream come true.