Pune: From a nearly barren feature, Baner Hill is on its way to becoming a lush green hill thanks to the effort of a team called ‘Dr Chandrakant Garudkar Vasundhara Abhiyaan’, which started an initiative to plant trees every Sunday morning.
It is a group activity in which children, corporates, families, friends and nature lovers come together to plant trees and take care of them. It is also a part of Capgemini company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
The initiative started in 2006, and today, the hill boasts of 11,000 plants and saplings.
Dr Kusum Garudkar, co-founder of this group, said, “Only two trees were there on Baner Hill when it came to our knowledge - a banyan tree and a custard apple (sitaphal) tree. Today, there are more than 11,000 trees of different varieties.”
Monali Shah, a team member, said, “I have been working in this group since 2006. We have worked for this cause every Sunday for three hours.”
Shakar Tamhane, resident of Baner, who works with Indian Naval Station (INS) in Lonavala and founder member of this team, said, “Most of the time, I have been bunking my job to work for this plantation area. I also take leave whenever it is necessary.”
Kiran Manohar Take from Aundh, also a volunteer, said, “We came to know about this initiative during a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme conducted by my company, and have joined this cause since then.”
Sunday morning routine
- People gather together every Sunday morning for this initiative. The number varies from 50 to 150.
- Participants line up to form a chain from the bottom to the top of the hill, where their plantation site is located.
- Material like bags of mud, sickle, spade, etc, are carried to the top of the hill using this human chain.
- They water every tree and sapling from the water tanks made on the hill.
- They remove unnecessary material or objects like garbage, plastic bags, stones, etc, from the plantation area.
- After everyone completes their work, everyone sits down for breakfast together.
- Dry leaves are stored and composted to convert into manure. This is then used for new plants.
- Because of this initiative, different species of birds and butterflies are now seen in this region.