‘Sabuja Ratha’ flagged off on a Green Ganjam mission

‘Sabuja Ratha’ flagged off on a Green Ganjam mission

Berhampur: Aryabhatta E & N Foundation, Ganjam, launched its plantation drive this year by flagging off ‘Sabuja Ratha’ on Thursday. Berhampur...

Berhampur: Aryabhatta E & N Foundation, Ganjam, launched its plantation drive this year by flagging off ‘Sabuja Ratha’ on Thursday. Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer Sunny Khokhar flagged off the ‘Ratha’ in the presence of ACF Manikeswari Hansda, volunteers and students of different educational institutions.

‘Sabuja Ratha,’ mounted on an electric auto, will move through Ganjam district and nearby areas in Andhra Pradesh till July to appeal to the people to plant trees and save environment. It would also be used to appeal to people to give up the use of polythene and single-use plastic and also conserve and save water from pollution.

The Aryabhatta has adopted a massive plantation drive for the last 17 years with the planting of banyan trees this year and educating the general public.

The foundation was founded by Odisha’s ‘Greenman’ Sudhir Rout, who started the green mission from his village Madhabandha under Chikiti block in Ganjam district in 2007.

Rout, who did his post-graduation in Physics from Khallikote College in Berhampur in 1985 and is running the coaching centre ‘Aryabhatta’ in a rented house here for brilliant minds, is the former principal of Nalanda Residential College in Vijayawada. He has spent more than Rs 42 lakh from his own pocket for planting trees in different areas for 17 years.

The Aryabhatta Foundation has converted bald and barren hills with degraded soil into lush green cover. The volunteers sow seeds through seed balls in inaccessible areas of the hills. They also sow seeds by hoeing in the foothills. The DFO also inaugurated the preparation of the seed balls at Aryabhata complex.

The foundation already converted 13 bald hills of Ganjam into greenery between 2019 and 2022 and took up 7 more hills in 2023. “This year we will take up 2 more bald hills,” said Sudhir Rout.

Aryabhatta Foundation nourished 13 bald hills in Ganjam including Balakumari, Podapadar, Bhaludhimbirai, Mahurikalua, Bhuasuni, Changudidei, Pakidi, Karakhola near Hinjilicut, Taratarini, Sahaspur, Bhaliagada Hill near Adapada from 2019 to 2023.

Last year, the foundation took up 7 hills, including Russidalli Pahad near Chikiti, four hills between Bhuasuni near Mahuri Kalua and Bankeswari, hill adjacent to Changudidei near Digapahandi, one hill in Pakidi and some hillocks like Baripada, Sahaspur and Ramachandi. It has shown good results. “This year, we will take up two bald hills near Dumula,” said Sudhir.

On their plan for the next green venture, Sudhir said they will prepare two to three lakh seed balls this year and have collected more than eight lakh seeds to sow by hoeing.

The plants raised through throwing of seed balls and sowing by hoeing in the bald hills last year encountered some problems after scanty rainfall. “But we hope the tender trees, which reached a height of about 7 feet and dried up, will grow again after rainfall during this monsoon season. The dry trees on the hills generally germinate after rainfall,” he said.

On the survival rate of trees on the hills, Sudhir said the local people cut 10 per cent of the trees for fuel and about 30 per cent of the tender trees are destroyed by grazing of goats.

Sudhir intends to plant more trees if they would be provided land for village forest. He started the village forest concept in Pitatali panchayat, Madhabandha and Palasara covering 25 acres in 2016.

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