Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not a good idea

This one is a freshly planted banyan close to JLB Rd. traffic lights in MUDA Circle. Virshamitra Gurukar, who has been at work on this roadside patch for the past one week usually plants honge. Cattle don't fancy the plant. A fully grown honge provides good shade. Emits with oxygen anti-tuberculosis substance in the air, according to Mr Gurukar.
Honge doesn't need a thorny tree-guard. Other saplings such as banyan do, to protected them from ravage by passing cattle. Mr Gurukar went for banyan, presumably, on advice from a passer-by. His point was no one (other than cattle) vandalises a banyan because of religious sentiments.
This banyan on T Narsipur Rd. is worshiped by villagers. Auspicious day in the week is Monday, when people from nearby villages flock to this banyan to do puja .

Snag with planting banyan is you never can tell which way it would spread as it grows up. Planting one, that too close to a traffic signal on JLB Rd., amounts planting a potential traffic hazard for our grand-children and their children. Surely, we wouldn't want, do we, Mr Gurukar to be remembered by future generations for sowing a seed for a traffic hazard. Besides, it is never a good idea to have roadside trees that spread horizontally.

Timbered trees

Authorities gave credible reasons - rail bridge and under-pass widening - for turning these roadside trees into timber - 25 of them. But have they said anything about compensatory planting ? Green groups and NGOs have a legitimate case to press the railway authorities to plant two or more trees for every one felled on K R S Road, Mysore.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

After last night's shower

I missed Vrishamitra Gurukar at MUDA Circle (JLB Rd.)on today's morning walk. Instead,I found these boys doing their workout on the green patch. Last night's shower has evidently done some good for the saplings Mr Gurukar has planted in the last few days. Having run into him for the past two days, working on saplings at MUDA Circle, I was hoping to find him there today, and for the next few days.
I wish the boys, attending a soccer training camp at the Mysore University athletic grounds, had the opportunity to meet our 'green' man. When I mentioned this to their coach Gururaj he said the boys jog around in the neighbourhood every morning, and he and his boys would be happy to help Mr Gurukar in planting work.

I mentioned to Mr Gururaj that our new-found tree-lover friend plans to plant three more saplings at MUDA Circle; and so he can be found at this spot for the next few days, before he moves on to some place else for planting his saplings. Wouldn't it be nice if planter Gurukar and fitness coach Gururaj make a connection? Mr Gururaj works in the ticketing section at Mysore Railway Station.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tree-planter Gurukar

Mr K R Gurukar, retired government official, tree-lover and avid planter. He plants mainly on the roadside; honge saplings that he buys from the forest dept. nursery. He has been doing this daily for years ; has planted a thousand trees in Mysore since 2002, when came to settle in Mysore after retirement as training officer of the dept. of labour in Bangalore.

Every morning Mr Gurukar sets out on bicycle from his Saraswathipuram residence to scout for suitable vacant space where he can plant, to do earthwork for planting the next day; and to water the sapling he had planted earlier. A hands-on person who waits for no one Mr Gurukar represents an ideal role model that FORT-Mysore can have.
But then FORT-Mysore, an online group of the friends of roadside trees, and Mr Gurukar could have stayed unaware of one another, had he not been introduced to us by a santhe enthusiast Mr K N Srinivas. Mr Gurukar is not an online person; he doesn't have an e-mail ID, not even a phone connection. We made the connection through Mr Srinivas, who has his own plans to plant fruit-bearing trees in Mysore's home for the aged, orphanages, and other institutions.
Mr Gurukar was doing earthwork for planting when we - Mr Srinivas and I - met him , on the roadside near MUDA Circle on JLB Road. He carries with him the digging kit - shovel and things - and also a couple of plastic pots for watering the saplings.
A tricycle with cargo hold would be more convenient, if someone could come up with a donation. Mr Srinivas has offered to find a sponsor. FORT-Mysore could chip in, if need be.
Honge is Mr Gurukar's favoured sapling for roadside planting. "Cattle eat away other saplings," he says, adding he gets honge plant for Rs.20 from the forest dept. nursery. On an average it takes him two days to plant a sapling and he has planted two already on MUDA Circle roadside.
Mr Gurukar often slogs it out on his own, without waiting for or seeking anyone' help - 'occasionally, I get one or two passers-by coming up to help'. Mr Gurukar can be an inspiration for neighbourhood green groups. Parents could encourage their children during vacation time to join Mr Gurukar in roadside tree-planting. Schools could invite him to address their students.
His address: Mr K R Gurukar, C H 61, V Main Rd., III Cross, Saraswathipuram, Mysore 570009