Sowing the seeds of hope

Sowing the seeds of hope

Sowing the seeds of hope

Mukunda Rao, a retired government official, has a new job at hand: sowing seeds in hillocks that are devoid of vegetation. In fact, he has been doing this as a passion for over a decade now. Several hillocks in Channapatna taluk have seen a green makeover due to his efforts. He generally plants wild species like neem, tamarind, soap nut, peepal, jackfruit and   cedar. The ones planted in 2007 have started bearing fruits. The idea struck to him 15 years ago when he was working in Chikkamagaluru. He used to see a variety of seeds dispersed by birds during his morning walks.

He decided to collect these seeds and sow them in his home town, Channapatna. He made an agreement with the beggars and asked them to collect the seeds for a payment of Rs 100 per week. "I used to courier the seeds to my mother. I would sow these seeds when I returned home during holidays. There is a story behind the greening of each hillock," he says.  

He works with schools to collect required quantity of seeds. He places cardboard boxes in schools and asks children to collect seeds they find in the school premises and put them in the box. Now, schools in different parts of the State collaborate with him to develop vegetation models. Mukunda Rao appreciates the enthusiasm of students and acknowledges the support of friends and family.

Mukunda Rao and his wife, Lata, prepare the seeds for sowing by coating them with jeevamruta, and then drying in the shade. During monsoon, the couple organises seed sowing camps in places near dry hillocks.

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