Bullock cart for promoting sapling plantation drive

Bullock cart for promoting sapling plantation drive

Bullock cart for promoting sapling plantation drive

Bullock carts are seldom seen in urban centres nowadays. No wonder, it triggered curiosity in Bhubaneswar recently when residents saw a well-decorated bullock cart on an important road in the city. A couple of youngsters, riding the cart, distributed saplings free of charge to the people.

After sometime, the passersby realised that the unique roadshow was a special campaign called “Sagada Gadi” (bullock cart), launched by Bakul Foundation, a city-based NGO. The campaign was a part of “My Tree”, another larger annual event organised in Bhubaneswar by the Bakul for the last few years to encourage the people to go for sapling plantation to protect the environment. 

“The Sagada Gadi campaign was a grand success as the people not only thronged to see the well-decoratedbullock cart but also were extremely keen to take the saplings home,” said Sweta Dash, a Bakul volunteer, who coordinated the eye-catching road show. 

The 22-year-old girl, who is all set to join as a content writer in a Bangalore-based firm, said the campaign was successful as 500-odd saplings, which were to be distributed, were over within a couple of hours of launching the campa­ign. “After we ran out of stock, many people came and enquired if they can get the saplings from our office,” she said. 

The campaign was also a great experience for the 25-odd Bakul volunteers, most of them students of different educational institutions in and around Bhubaneswar. “The experience of riding a bullock cart that too for a noble initiative was certainly a memorable one,” said Prayash Mohapatra (19), an information technology student in an engineering college who was one among the volunteers in charge of decorating the bullock cart.

Sujit Mahapatra, the chief of Bakul Foundation, said the reason behind using the bullock cart was to attract people for an important and extremely essential initiative like sapling-plantation with the help of a pollution-free and eco-friendly cart which has become a rarity in towns and cities.

“On the first anniversary of our progra­mme we had distributed saplings from roadside. However, subsequently we deci­ded to go for a roadshow to attract more people. Initially, we had thought of using a motor vehicle. But eventually we opted for the bullock cart as it is rarely seen in the towns and cities nowadays. Moreover, the bullock cart is eco-friendly and never creates pollution like the motor vehicles,” the activist said. 

On “My Tree”, Mahapatra said the programme was primarily aimed at establishing a direct connect and a permanent relationship between a tree and an individual. “Through the programme we encourage people to plant a sapling and develop a relationship with it for its growth and survival,” said the Bakul chief.

He stressed the urgent need for large-scale tree plantation and said it has become extremely essential for the protection of environment and ecology. 

“Deforestation is happening across the globe at the rate of 13 million hectares every year. Every second, a rainforest area of the size of a football field is being destroyed. To make up for the loss of trees in the past one decade, each individual needs to plant and take care of at least two saplings a year,” Mahapatra said . There is an immediate need for large-scale sapling plantation in a state like Odisha which had already been experiencing natural disasters like floods and cyclones almost every year. 

Mindless deforestation

Many environmentalists attribute the catastrophes at frequent intervals to mindless deforestation in Odisha’s coastal areas.

The Bakul’s efforts seem to have borne fruit as many individuals have started planting saplings regularly with the help of the NGO. “I know a teacher who takes saplings from us regularly and plants them in different places in Bhubaneswar as well as in the neighbouring town of Khurda. He also takes care of them and ensures their survival,” Mahapatra said.

The NGO also encourages people to use saplings as a gift on special occasions like marriages, birthdays and house warming ceremonies.

“While attending a marriage reception if you present a sapling to the newly-wed couple instead of regular gifts, it will definitely attract the attention of the people. There is a fair chance that at least some present at the wedding would get inspi­red and do the same when he or she attends a social function next time,” said the Bakul chief.

To create more awareness among the common man about sapling plantation and environment, the NGO also organises another programme which has been christened as “travelling film festival on environment”. 

“Our volunteers get in touch with societies of different apartments, schools and colleges and organise shows of short films and documentaries on environment and sapling plantation. We have already organised many such shows in the state capital. The shows have been a great hit, particularly among youngsters and children,” Mahapatra claimed. 

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