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