Hariprakash Agarwal, President, Suncity Apartment Owners Association (SAOA) and Director, Community Services at Rotary Club Bangalore Lakeside, shares this update on the tree planting done at Bellandur Lake.
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How it all started
About 6 months back, some senior citizens in Suncity led by Ashok Dube wrote to BBMP Commissioner that they would like to do something for the city and environment. Their email was forwarded to Satish BV, Chief Engineer, BBMP and he got in touch with the SunCity group. He said BBMP was planning to rejuvenate the lake and a proposal worth more than Rs 350 Crores was under discussion. Bellandur Lake had been recently fenced by BBMP to avoid unauthorised occupation of land. However the fence is open at places hence cattle access is not ruled out. About 2-3 months back, the team also learnt from Forest Officer Jagannath Rao and Chief Engineer Satish BV that BBMP was interested in taking an initiative to plant trees with the help of nearby residents. Dube discussed this with me immediately and we thought that we must do our bit for environment and plan a major tree plantation drive.
With World Environment Day on Jun 5th and the fact that Bangalore has good rain in June, made us decide the date. We discussed it with members of Rotary Club Bangalore Lakeside, Suncity Apts, Sobha Group of apartments and they all supported the cause with huge enthusiasm. Now, we started planning for the event.
We formed 4-5 teams, Fund Raising team to buy saplings of 3 ft to 8 ft height of various types and maintaining them for at least one year, Finance Team to manage accounts and to bring transparency, Tree Selection and Procurement team to select and procure saplings, Publicity and Community Participation team to spread awareness among residents, apartments and associations, Event Management Team to manage the event on 5th Jun (especially logistics etc).
We decided to plant about 500 to 1000 saplings. Dube with the help of BBMP officials chose the areas to plant trees which is inside the fencing of Belandur Lake near Suncity, Euphoria and Sobha Apartments. It was noted that at the boundary of the lake, there will be an 8 feet walkway surrounded by trees on both sides.
Amit Kumar of Suncity designed the logo and posters for the event and Varun Yagain of Euphoria ensured online presence for the event in the form of blogs, google groups, email etc.
Each team got in action and volunteers came together. Trees were finalized, e-mails were sent for donations and participation, posters were pasted in many apartments, corporates were approached for sponsorships, online account payment option setup, finance was managed, coordination with BBMP was ensured.
Ashok Dube worked with BBMP officials to ensure that about 1000 pits were dug before 5th Jun and Narayan and Nagaraj from BBMP with some labourers managed the task of digging the pits, providing the bamboos, saplings, shovels and any other kind of support to residents. We found that BBMP officials were also equally enthusiastic about the project.
We divided tree plantation in 3 distinct areas as there was big gap among these places due to logged water, muddy and uneven terrain. Three areas are:
1. Behind SunCity apartments
2. Behind Euphoria apartments
3. Behind Sobha Group of apartments
We had some meetings one week before the plantation day to allocate responsibilities to manage 3 areas and to arrange basic things, like, water, signages, hand-gloves, snake catcher, some refreshments, one table to keep water, few chairs etc.
Tree Plantation on World Environment Day
Finally, the day came and volunteers arrived at the spot around 7.30 am. HSBC sponsored the event with more than 200 trees and about 60 employees participated very ethusiastically. Due to rains on earlier day, the whole terrain was very muddy yet about 200 residents (including HSBC employees) participated in the event which started at 8 am and went till 12:30 pm.
It was nice to watch children trying to understand the process and plant saplings. We had around 30 children along with their teacher from nearby government school at Iblur. We all could plant more than 650 saplings/plants. Section wise break up is: about 350 behind SunCity, about 220 behind Euphoria and about 100 behind Sobha Apts.
Last but not least, we were very well supported by Varun Yagain and Jayaprakash from HSBC to manage the Euphoria side. Paritosh Maheshwari, Harshad Dave, Sonika Dave, Bharat Bhushan, G M Shah, Mr D B Bardhan and Rahul managed the Suncity side. Residents of Sobha apartments and Rotarians Sunil Kand, Vinay, Vinod Agarwal, Ankit Maheshwari, T V Srinivasan and Jiten managed the Sobha apartments side.
We would like to extend our heartiest thanks to BBMP officials and labourers who worked tirelessly to make this event happen. Our special thanks goes to Chief Engineer Satish BV, Forest Officer Jagannath Rao, Narayan and Nagaraj.
This is the start of a nice initiative and now, we have the task of maintaining these saplings and some of us are already looking into it. If you have prior experience of maintaining the plants, than please share with us.