Maharashtra’s ‘model green’ village fought against drought by planting trees on special occasions
Mumbai, June 20: Back in 2003, retired school teacher PT Shinde changed the fate of his village in Maharashtra's Pune by encouraging his fellow residents to plant trees on special occasions.
Today, Ranmala, a village in Khed taluka, which was earlier drought prone has become water sufficient, thanks to more than two lakh saplings being planted in and around the village in the last 15 years.
From births to deaths in families, villagers under the guidance of Shinde have been ritualistically planting trees, most of which are fruit bearing, and turning the whole of Ranmala into a green abode.
Now, as the Maharashtra government is all set to embark on its massive tree plantation drive, beginning from July 1 to 31 where 13 crore saplings will be planted across the state, it is the Ranmala model that the administration has decided to adopt, reported The Times of India.
Speaking to the English daily, principal secretary of the forest department, Vikas Kharge, said, "We visited the village and found this idea was working very well. If there was a birth in anyone's house, they would be gifted a sapling--'Janm Vruksha' (birth tree) and the family was expected to take care of the sapling as they would the baby. Similarly, for a death in a family, a 'Smruti Vruksha' (tree of remembrance), 'Maherichi Zhadi' or 'Shubh Mangal Vruksha' (auspicious tree) for weddings and 'Anand Vruksha' for special occasions would be given."
The recognition by the state government is a big morale boost for the villagers of Ranmala. Shinde told The Times of India that the village has received several awards for its model, but the state government adopting the model has been its greatest achievement and villagers are extremely proud of their contribution.