Eco-friendly ideas for e-Gen

Eco-friendly ideas for e-Gen

Sankalptaru, an NGO that provides a patented online platform powered by GPS and social technologies to plant trees from anywhere in the world at a...

Sankalptaru, an NGO that provides a patented online platform powered by GPS and social technologies to plant trees from anywhere in the world at a location you desire, has changed the face of Talupula, a drought-hit village in Anantapur to give it a green cover Payam Sudhakaran Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,' says an adage. At a time when the political leaders are offering everything free � electricity, domestic provisions, money, liquor, clothes and what not � here is a man who teaches people how to meet their own needs.
A visit to Talupula, a village in perennially drought-hit Anantapur will take you by surprise. Like an oasis in the middle of a vast desert, the village lies green with cool breeze and murmuring of thick foliages all around. Fruit bearing trees including mango, sapota, guava and jamoon, medicinal plants like amla and neem and fodder producing plants including subabool, glesiridia and Sesbania are all around the village. And the credit goes to Apurva Bhandari, founder, Sankalptaru, an NGO that provides a patented online platform powered by GPS and social technologies to plant trees from anywhere in the world at a location you desire. Rainfall, like any other village in Anantapur and surrounding districts, is a rarity for Talupula too. The people face situation of drought several times, causing heavy losses to poor farmers. Consequently, this situation leads to frustration, despair and suicides among the farming communities. And it was where, Sankalptaru and Green Tree Foundation jointly worked out an action plan to add greenery and bring collective benefits to villagers.
It was not an easy job. The villagers had to face many challenges, but Sankalptaru's innovative techniques helped them overcome the challenges. The major challenge they faced was wind erosion. Since the westerly winds that blow across the district are strong, it contributes to a very high rate of soil erosion. Estimated soil loss due to erosion in the entire Anantapur district is around 91.7-lakh ton per annum. So they started working towards adding trees and green vegetation to prevent soil erosion. New wind arrester plantation technique was used to prevent crop and soil from being depleted away. Since the area did not have sufficient water and nutrient retention, trees were planted around the fields to help improving moisture content and reducing water loss from evaporation. Agro-forestry technique was used wherein Sesbania saplings were planted amidst crops. Leaves shed by these plants act as compost and also stabilise NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) composition of the soil; hence resulting in improved land productivity. By developing water harvesting system and judiciously using bore-well water ensured continuous irrigation source to planted trees. The brain behind the project, Apurva Bhandari, was born and brought up in the hills of Uttarakand. He was always inclined towards giving back to society and Mother Nature. After working for around 10 years in the corporate, he decided to get back to the roots and took up the noble initiative for a cleaner, greener and a better planet. It was then he took up this concept kick-started his entrepreneurial venture- Sankalptaru. The concept is novel � virtual planting of trees. "In a world when everyone is busy in their lives and miss out significant things in life, the concept came as blessing. Sankalptaru realised the helplessness of the people who want to do good things and thus, created an online platform for the people to take a step ahead for greener planet. The user can plant, gift or tag a sapling virtually, and Sankalptaru will plant it on-ground for them. Every planter gets a picture of the tree he planted, and even gets to see where the tree is planted through a GPS satellite. This helps Sankalptaru in maintaining transparency with the users," says Bhandari. Talupula, Anantapur project is a drought affected region after Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). Many tribal villagers were jobless. "Initially when Sankalptaru introduced the project - Green Deccan there, the people had apprehensions about the reason why Sankalptaru was taking up an initiative in their village. It was only when we sensitised the farmers about how and why this project would benefit them, they accepted it. Sankalptaru's as an initiative to boost the morale of the farmers. It has donated mango and orange orchards to farmers there. Not only this, it also provided agricultural tools and irrigation facilities. The farmers now have a source of income that comes from maintaining the green belt in Deccan," says Bhandari. About other similar projects, Bhandari says, "Till now we have five project sites running in India including Talupula (Anantpur district) Nijmula Village (Chamoli district, Uttrakhand), Bagepalli (Chikaballapur, Karnataka), Sambhaji lake (Solapur, Maharashtra) and Barmer (Rajasthan). The unique model of Sankalptaru defines the need of each region and a varied projects. Every region where Sankalptaru has its project has a different need to cater to, thus, each site has its own theme." According to P Raghuveer IFS, Additional PCCF/Director, A.P. Forest Academy, "It is a novel concept and helps in greening the country. Keeping in tune with the current generation's passion for being online, Sankalptaru helps in bringing in great convenience to users who wish to do some good 'eco-friendly' things. It is a win-win situation for the individual, for the corporates and for the society itself. I request everyone to Join hands in this massive movement, establishing thousand of oxygen producing green factories on planet earth."
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