Happiness delivery: Inspiring individuals, celebrities and corporates to plant saplings and adopt forests
J. Santosh Kumar (right), 44, Rajya Sabha MP with actor Prabhas at the Kazipally reserve forest, Telangana; Photo by Mohammed Aleemuddin
His passion is to persuade people to plant saplings. His goal, to incrementally expand green cover to fight climate change. To this end, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Rajya Sabha member Joginapally Santosh Kumar prods every individual and organisation coming his way. “Community participation to bring about change can be ensured only by striving to convince people,” says the 44-year-old politician.
Kumar launched a citizens’ initiative, Green India Challenge, on July 17, 2018, with the slogan ‘Hara hai toh bhara hai (if it’s green, it’s bountiful)’. Through this network, he has inspired celebrities, film actors, sportspersons and politicians to plant saplings and donate generously for the green cause. Many celebrities, in turn, have launched their own planting chains.
For the third year in a row, actor Pudipeddi Sai Kumar rallied fans to plant saplings on his birthday (July 27). “On my 61st birthday, I gave medicinal plants as a return gift to my relatives,” he says. Sai Kumar isn’t the only one. On July 4—his 58th birthday—TRS MLA and former Telangana environment minister Jogu Ramanna arranged for planting a million saplings in his native Adilabad district.
Kumar set the trend by adopting the 2,042-acre Keesara Gutta reserve forest near Hyderabad in 2019. He has spent Rs 3 crore from his MP local area development funds and family resources to plant 60,000 saplings there. Last year, actor Prabhas came forward to develop the 1,650-acre Kazipally reserve forest on the outskirts of Hyderabad. “I believe developing greenery creates additional lung space, and that gives me joy,” says the Baahubali actor, who made an initial contribution of Rs 2 crore.
B. Parthasaradhi Reddy, chairman & MD of the Hyderabad-based Hetero Drugs Limited, has adopted the 2,543-acre Mumbapur-Nallavelli reserve forest in Sangareddy district and provided Rs 5 crore as the initial grant. Megha Engineering, Hyderabad, is bracing to adopt the 5,500-acre Rachakonda reserve forest. Individuals and companies are making a beeline for adopting 88 green patches in the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority limits.
While the plantation drives in forests are done in consultation with the forest department, individuals who are greening their homes and neighbourhoods are growing common tree varieties such as neem, gulmohar, peepal and mango. Then there are those who have started using social events to gift others saplings. How does Kumar inspire so many people? “Nature talk is a bright way to start a conversation with a new acquaintance. It brings cheer, satisfaction and happiness to both,” he says.
Click here for IndiaToday.in’s complete coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.