Thursday, May 13, 2010

Politics of watering plants

A question every inquisitive passer-by asks when you take up planting on public space is: Who will water the saplings ? The Manjunaths of Giridarshini Layout are different. Mr Manjunath,living close to the Ganapathi temple, far from popping up the question, invited us to take water from his house. We took 12 buckets yesterday, and nearly as many today, to plant the first two saplings of the ongoing tree-planting programme.
Mrs Manjunath was our obvious choice for doing the honours with the first sapling we planted at the temple doorstep this morning. She has offered to take care of the sapling till it takea roots.
This is the sapling Mrs Manjunath planted. There are no more than a couple of other trees on the entire stretch of this road. The layout comes under gram panchayat, say its residents by way of explanation for conspicuous lack of even basic infrastructure such as proper road, sewage line and a prescribed pavement space. No open space for public park has been demarcated. As a old-time resident put it, every bit of land has been parceled and sold as plots.
In contrast to the poor infrastructure, fancy buildings have come up in the area. And fresh construction is still in evidence in many parts of the layout. Folks who lavish their wealth on house construction pay little attention to their surroundings. A few residents we met in the colony spoke of panchayat politics and lack of collective will among residents to get anything done to improve the locality. Getting such people together for a community initiative such as tree-planting remains a challenge.

As of now,we are focused on planting within the confines of the temple land. And response from the temple trustees has been positive. This may well be because a prime-mover in the current planting in the area, Mr K N Sreenivas, is a trustee himself. We asked the temple priest Suryanarayana Jois to plant the second sapling. He did it with appropriate rituals, chanting slokas. He also agreed to put in a word to regular temple visitors about the sanctity of watering the plants around the temple.
Immediate needs of water for this freshly planted sapling was met by Mr Manjunath who used his influence in the neighbourhood to bring a hose from a construction site.

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