Thursday, July 29, 2010

Aanad Utsav 2nd Annual Environment Festival of Fazilka

Aanad Utsav

2nd Annual Environment Festival of Fazilka

Country's first Dial-a-Tree Service

Green Ambulance service in Fazilka for environment rescue

Fazilka: Environmental activists in Punjab are set to launch an innovative "dial-a-tree" service to promote tree plantation and keep the small town green. Already accredited for introducing car-free zone at Fazilka – a small town near the Indo-Pak border, these environmentalists would launch the India's first service of its kind on August 1.

The service is proposed to be launched by Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF) on Anand Utsav – an annual function organized with an aim to spread awareness about environmental protection. Zamindara Farmsolutions – an agriculture resource centre has extended support to GWAF for training the volunteers to plant trees and green phone helpline. Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation Punjab are partnered with us for the same. "Our department is very happy to associate with such unique citizen's initiative" said H.S. Grewal, CF Ferozepur Circle.

Chandrika Ahuja, coordinator of Dial-a-Tree project said that they converted three cycle rickshaws into Green Ambulances in service to transport and plant tree saplings at people's door step. These "ambulances" would have two trained green warriors each, variety of tree saplings, manure, cutter and basic equipment for trenching. The service shall be extended to citizen free of cost.

The trained volunteers would plant the tree and seek the house or land owner to furnish an undertaking that he would protect and take care of the saplings and later they will be awarded with Green Citizen honour. Anyone, who desires the association to plant a tree on his premises could call up a helpline number or email a request.

Vikram Ahuja, director, Zamindara Farmsolutions said that they had been motivating people to plant trees on their birthdays or other special occasions. "We have trained volunteers and hope that public would respond well to the project," he said. The response to already launched Dial-a-Rickshaw project at Fazilka was encouraging and GWAF hoped to replicate the success, said Vikram, who is also one of the GWAF founders. Dial – a- Tree green helpline will start from tomorrow for the pre booking and plantation drive shall be started from 1st of August 2010. Any Fazilka city resident can dial at 99151-84000 and book for tree sapling. For bulk plantation at schools and other institutions, GWAF will ensure free supply of saplings via Green Ambulances. This service will remain active till 15th August 2010.

The association promises that the tree would planted within 24 hours following request. Rickshaws had been chosen as "ambulances" since they are non-polluting vehicles. The trained personnel using these ambulances would also take care of existing tress and prevent them from dying.

Navdeep Asija, secretary, GWAF said that an RTI query revealed that municipal authorities in Fazilka planted less than 800 trees in a decade. About 30 trees survived. The town has a total 10.4 sqkm urban settlement and the present green belt is less than 0.5 per cent. "It is alarming," he added.

"Last year, during Anand Utsav, we planted more than 1200 tree saplings and out of which more than 600 survived; we made it possible through community participation, our idea is not to plant more saplings but to made tree grow with full protection and care", said Dr Bhupinder Singh, Patron GWAF and retired professor from IIT Roorkee. 


·         Agriculture Resource Centre, Zamindara Farmsolutions, Fazilka

·         Department of Forests and Wildlife Conservation, Punjab

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