Ranmala

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Green celebrations

Bhavika Jain1, Celebrations are always green in this Maha village, June 24, 2018: The Times of India


THEY PLANT SAPLINGS TO MARK EVERY OCCASION

The birth of a child is celebrated by people showering the newborn with gifts, from expensive clothes to toys. The celebrations in Ranmala, a small village near Pune, however, are silent but impactful with a tree being planted for the birth of each child in the village.

People in Ranmala mark celebrations such as birth, marriage and even occasions such as death by gifting the family with a sapling. In 15 years, Ranmala has gone from being drought-hit to being water sufficient, with nearly two lakh saplings being planted on open land in and around the village.

Ranmala owes its transformation to retired school teacher P T Shinde, who embarked on the project in 2003. The USP of Shinde’s model is the emotional bond that it develops between the villagers and the trees they plant, making the survival rate of these trees very high.

The model works so well that the Maharashtra government has issued a resolution asking all gram panchayats and councils to adopt it. “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 the 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,” said principal secretary of the forest department, Vikas Kharge.

“There are instances of a sapling being planted when a baby was born and the child, who is now a teenager, taking care of the tree and also relishing it fruits,” he added.

This year, between July 1 and 31, 13 crore saplings will be planted across Maharashtra and officials have been asked to prepare a list of occasions that fall in the four categories for families living in their villages and those families will be given a sapling in a ceremony on July 1. Officials said the government will also give a name plate so that the family can name the tree. As part of the massive plantation drive, all the saplings will also be geo-tagged.

“The village has received several awards for its model, but the state government adopting it has been its greatest achievement and the villagers are extremely proud of their contribution,” said P T Shinde.

People in Ranmala mark celebrations such as birth, marriage and even occasions such as death by gifting the family with a sapling. In 15 years, it has gone from being drought-hit to being water sufficient

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