Barren land on school premises turns green

Some of the trees grown at Shakaram Primary School in Wargal mandal in Siddipet district.   | Photo Credit: MOHD ARIF

A decade ago, no one thought it would be possible to grow plants or trees on the premises of the government primary school located at Shakaram village in Wargal mandal. The school ground, spread over two acres, was completely barren, except for one tree which offered some shade. Locals said that it was impossible to plant any sapling when someone in the school tried to do so.

Today, the scene is completely different, with the premises looking verdant with various types of plants and trees. Saplings were planted here seven years ago and some have grown into trees that have reached a height of more than 15 feet. All thanks to the efforts of Varala Prashanth Kumar, a teacher working in the school, who took the initiative with the help of students. Efforts were put in since 2016 after consulting some agriculture experts. The soil health was improved by following the traditional system of vermicomposting and using cow dung. About 500 saplings including that of tamarind and neem were planted. The efforts have yielded results and evident in the form of lush surroundings.

The first year Mr. Prashanth Kumar had to work hard and convince the students about the importance of growing saplings, from the second year onwards it was the students who played a key role in taking care of the saplings. Saplings were given for adoption to the students who used to take care of them by watering them and attending to them regularly. Many students personally monitored the growth of the saplings.

By 2020 about 450 trees grew to their full size with dense foliage and even attracted snakes. As a precautionary measure some of them removed and space was created to move a tractor. Now there is ample place for students to run and walk between the trees. Every year the outgoing 5th class students will hand over the responsibility of these trees to those replacing them in the same class. Students will also tie Raksha Bandhan to these trees during the festival.

“Vegetables like tomato, brinjal and leafy varieties are growing here, which are being used in the mid-day meals for the past four years. All these are being grown with organic farming,” Mr Prashanth Kumar told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 10:21:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/barren-land-on-school-premises-turns-green/article35684278.ece

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