Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bye bye, Bangalore; saying it with saplings

If everyone who goes abroad the first time – students, IT professionals or baby-sitting NRI parents – were to plant a roadside sapling to mark the occasion, we could have a green corridor all along the way to the airport in three to five years.

So I said in a recent post highlighting the green initiative of Mrs Janet Yegneswaran, who set up the Tree-for-free Trust in memory of her husband . Now that the Bangalore international airport would be ready for operation in six weeks, this is as good a time as any other to plug the message: Say it with Saplings – addressed to Bangalore air-travelers.

When airport-related items are the flavour of the Bangalore media, it is time to drum up the ‘green' corridor idea, in the hope it would be taken up by the Bangalore municipal and the international airport authorities. What triggered the idea was a story in Bangalore Mirror about a California NRI having planted 21 saplings at a city park to mark her three-week vacation in Bangalore. It’s time the media followed up on the idea for a Greener Bangalore.

This is the time for the Tree-for-Free Trust to survey the highway to identify open stretches along the road to Devanahalli; and to seek permission from the authorities and landowners to plant saplings on their space, as a citizen initiative. Janet has been engaged in encouraging residents and neighborhood interest groups to chip in their bit in making a difference to the city’s green cover. Janet’s trust arranges to plant saplings sponsored by individuals to mark special occasions such as birthday, death anniversary, wedding date, college admission, job placement or whatever.

The media report on the California NRI planting saplings as her farewell gesture on leaving Bangalore evoked many enquiries from residents seeking to sponsor saplings. Sunil Khanduja of SiliconIndia set up a online group in support of the initiative of the Tree-for-free trust.

But then the initial spurt in public enthusiasm hasn’t been sustained. We haven’t heard anything further either from Janet or Bangalore Mirror about whatever happened of those sponsorship enquires. Have the sponsors planted their saplings? How many, where and by who? And how are the NRI saplings coming up at the Koramangala eco park? Wouldn’t their non-resident sponsors wish to read about and see photographs of their plants on Janet’s website?

The SiliconIndia support group remains a non-starter. Not a single member, other than yours truly and Sunil who started it, has joined the group. In a recent e-mail Mrs Janet Yegneswaran referred to lack of media or corporate support. Maybe not many know of her efforts; maybe, she hasn't done enough to create public awareness. For a start, I would like to see Janet sharing her thoughts and experiences with the SiliconIndia support group.

Those in the media could do more of the Bangalore Mirror type stories (are you reading,Mr Balanarayan?) Radio jockeys could be persuaded to plug the green message. Company CEOs could talk about it to their staff and in social circuits. SiliconIndia network members with Bangalore connection could take more interest in sustaining the GreenBangalore support group.

Cross-filed in SiliconIndia

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