KARNATAKA

Agriculturist removes rubber trees to plant fruit-bearing ones

Sachin Bhide from Mundaje village in Belthangady taluk hands over a sapling to anex-serviceman.Special ArrangementSpecial Arrangement

Sachin Bhide from Mundaje village in Belthangady taluk hands over a sapling to anex-serviceman.Special ArrangementSpecial Arrangement  

A green enthusiast has removed fully grown and milk-yielding rubber trees from his five-acre plot and planted saplings of natural, fruit-bearing trees in Mundaje village of Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada district.

He has named it ‘Kargil Vana’, as a mark of respect for his admiration for armed forces personnel.

Sachin Bhide, 47, from Thambettu in Mundaje was keen on joining the Army, but could not succeed. My cousin Nithin Bhide is a colonel with the Indian Army, Mr. Bhide told The Hindu . His admiration for the armed forces only increased after doing the Amarnath Yatra and subsequently, visiting Dras in Kargil.

An active member of Sahyadri Sanchaya, a group of environmentalists in the region, Mr. Bhide decided to give back to nature and at the same time show his respect to the armed forces.

Last year, he got about 800 to 900 fully grown, milk-yielding rubber trees removed from his plot and planted about 800 saplings. When he was thinking of inaugurating the Kargil Vana, torrential rain and landslips in the region upset his plan.

This year again, Mr. Bhide replanted the saplings, all native to the Western Ghat region and many of them fruit-bearing. He got the vana inaugurated by ex-servicemen from Belthangady. On Monday, when everyone was celebrating Raksha Bandhan, Mr. Bhide celebrated ‘Vruksha Bandhana’ where he along with four ASHAs — Chandravathi, Jayanthi, Gayathri, and Shashi — tied rakhis made of coconut fronds.

“We tied rakhis to 527 saplings in memory of 527 Kargil martyrs,” he said.

Sahyadri Sanchaya’s leading force Dinesh Holla said ‘Vruksha Bandhana’ was a true gesture towards restoring the lost bond with nature.

Mr. Bhide said he would offer free boarding and lodging to members of Kargil war martyrs’ families if they wish to visit ‘Kargil Vana’.

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