2011: My Wishlist For Greening Mysore
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2011: My wishlist for greening Mysore

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Retired Times of India correspondent; associated with a Mysore green group - http://www.fortmysore.blogspot.com/
The green initiative by  the Ambaji Temple trust in Gujarat set me thinking of Mysore,  my town . Our town is  a hub of sort  for mutts, which have acquired govt. land and set up ashrams . And their spiritual heads such as JSS swamiji ,  and Ganapathi Sachidananda , are resourceful. They have the clout with the authorities ; and they can count on a public following.  I don’t know if they address environmental concerns  when they address their followers .

I would like to see them promoting tree-planting,  as Jaggi Vasudev does. In Gujarat the  Ambaji Trust,  in association with district officials,  has launched the ‘Green Katha’  movement.  Formatted as ‘harikatha (spiritual discourse) Ambaji’s  ‘Green Katha’ draws  from epics and the Hindu mythology to highlight the benefits of protecting trees and increasing green cover.  The discourse  is followed by distribution of saplings by way of  ‘prasad‘. The Banaskantha district collector  is quoted in the Deccan Herald as saying, “while in other religious gatherings, devotees receive sweets, after the katha, people here get saplings”.

Friends of Roadside Trees,  a Mysore group, has been trying to promote  with little sucess,  tree planting  in the city . And my wish list for Mysore draws from the ideas thrown up in their blog .

I wish Sri  Raghavendra temple on N S Rd. and  Vontikoppal Venkateswara  take the lead in introducing  ‘vriksharchana’ (click for details).

2) I wish school principals and teachers talk every parent  into planting a sapling or two to mark the day his/her child starts going to school. Besides involving children in taking care of plants,  parents can watch the sapling grow with their child.

3) I wish those sending  birthday/anniversary  bouquet to their dear ones  start  saying  it with a sapling,  instead ;  and I wish saplings are made available at the florists .

4) I wish VIPs invited to ceremonial tape-cutting and lamp- lighting at public functions insist on doing the honours by planting  a sapling.

5) I wish the govt. does not renew the licence (that expired in 2006)  to the Mysore Race Club ; and,  that the huge chunk of land in their possession is developed into a green lung space. I wish the political executives  view this issue in a long-term perspective, keeping in mind  Mysore’s  enviornmental needs . The open space as maintained by the race club  does not address these concerns. A well maintained grass-patch is not necessarily enviornment-friendly. It requires much water and sizeable fertiliser input to keep the grass green.

6) I wish  hotel owners  Sandesh,  Giri  and a host of others think green ;  and  persuade  their guests to plant saplings at a designated park, to mark their visit to the heritage city.  They can take back with them snapshots of the sapling they planted during Mysore visit.

7) I wish tour conductors do the same for high-ticket tourists doing Karnataka in the Golden Chariot. The luxury trains visits Mysore every Tuesday.

8)  I wish  all Mysore-based  companies adopt tree-planting as CSR programme.  Some of them plant saplings in the name of every employee they have on the payroll.

9) I wish the retail outlet of organic farmers association  – NESERA – sells saplings, along with organic fruits, vegetables and other produce.

10)  And I wish the local media and  district authorities recognize the work of the likes of the roadside tree-planter K R Gurukar.