A massive drive to provide a green cover for the city – “Pasum Pulari” – was launched on Siruthuli and Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore (RAAC), with a fervent appeal to the people to plant and nurture saplings.

The event was organised as part of Coimbatore Vizha, an annual programme to celebrate Coimbatore achievements in various fields and to discuss the roadmap for further growth. A rally by about 500 school and college students was also taken out to underline the importance of the project.

The objective of the project is to plant 1,04,572 saplings this year, which has been declared as the International Year of Forests. Siruthuli is a public initiative to conserve water resources and promote environmental activities. RAAC is an organisation working for the development of the city, including promotion of green spaces.

Launching the drive, City Police Commissioner C. Sylendra Babu stressed the importance of afforestation in the development of the country and that every student must be inspired by the substantial forest cover of Japan. He asked them to turn into a mission, the task of turning the city greener.

Chairman of Siruthuli S. V. Balasubramanian said they were inspired by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's call for "One billion trees for one billion people" and this project would commemorate his 80th birthday.

Managing Trustee of Siruthuli, Vanita Mohan said a fresh green cover must be provided soon, in the place of the one that was lost to widening of roads. Dr. Kalam's drive on involving students led Siruthuli to rope in educational institutions to carry out the programme. Nearly 10 educational institutions had registered with the two organisations to join the drive.

Ms. Mohan told The Hindu that most of the afforestation projects were forgotten once the saplings were planted. No follow up and proper nurturing of the saplings were done.

Pasum Pulari would have a four-level Green Army to nurture and give individual attention to the saplings, The Green Guardians for every 1000 trees, Green Warden for every 100 trees, Green Hands for every 10 trees and Green Thumbs for a single tree would comprise the Green Army.

The actual planting would begin only in June, with the onset of South West Monsoon. The period till then would be used for the preparatory works such as organising the entire Green Army, identifying reserved sites, corporate buildings that had exclusive space for trees, planning house-to-house plantation programmes and involving more educational institutions.

Once the plantation began, a meeting with an eco-conscious celebrity would be held every month and at the end of three years prizes would be given for to those in the Green Army who achieved 100 per cent success.

The funds for saplings would be provided by Siruthuli, the Chandra Group and Suguna Poultry. RmKV handed over a cheque of Rs.3 lakh for the project.

The website -- www.greencoimbatore.com – was also launched by the Police Commissioner. It contained the details of the project and would also have those relating to its progress during implementation.

District Forests Officer V. Thirunavukkarasu and Second-in-Command of Rapid Action Force 105 Batallion B.A.K. Chaurasia handed over a few saplings to Green Guardians.

Later, more than 80 saplings were planted on the PRS Grounds by the Green Guardians, school and college students. Eighty more saplings would be planted on October 15 on the PRS Grounds as part of the celebration of Dr. Kalam's 80th birthday.

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