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Plant a tree, click a selfie & boost green cover
- Not just a civic outfit chore anymore, afforestation becomes people’s hobby in capital district

Residents of Ranchi, Jharkhand’s greenest district, which includes the capital city, are getting green fingers.

Sapling plantation, once seen as one of the tasks of the state government or municipality or an NGO, is now a cool hobby fast gaining currency at homes, neighbourhoods and institutions.

On Tuesday, over 250 students of St Xavier’s College spearheaded an afforestation drive on the new four-laned Ranchi-Patratu stretch. Though the state forest department office at Doranda assisted them with saplings, officials said the institute had approached them expressing their wish to plant saplings. Each student planted a sapling.

The new four-lane, made operational last year, will get more green gifts on Sunday, August 17. Then, masses — students, professionals, homemakers, the elderly — will take part in a daylong drive organised by the state forest department and plant over 1,000 saplings.

Ranchi divisional forest officer (east) Rajiv Lochan Bakshi said they were aiming to plant as many as 30,000 saplings in Ranchi-Patratu road this year. “It’s doable as there’s huge community interest,” he said.

Suddenly, plantation is on everyone’s do-it-yourself (DIY) list.

On Tuesday, members of Jharkhand State Commission for Women visited principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) D.K. Srivastava’s office expressing their desire to hold plantation drives in their respective localities.

Next week, Yogoda Satsang Ashram, Ranchi, will host a tree-planting activity on their campus for which they approached the forest department.

According to Srivastava, unlike earlier times, there has been a paradigm shift in the way plantation drives are held nowadays. “Earlier, the department used to undertake activities. But now, people on their own approach us, telling us they want to plant saplings. It’s heartening that the youth, especially students from schools and colleges, are taking interest,” said he.

He enjoyed the St Xavier’s College plantation event on Tuesday. “I drove to the site to motivate students. But, I found their energy infectious,” he smiled.

Ranchi divisional forest officer (east) Rajiv Lochan Bakshi said planting sapling was a cool style statement now. “Plant a tree, click a selfie and post it on the Net. The youth do this all the time. We don’t mind as long as people come forward to plant trees,” he said, adding that in the past month, they had assisted initiatives at CRPF and Army camps, private and state schools.

Style apart, proactive community participation boosts green cover outside earmarked forest zones.

But, the biggest poser before the PCCF and forest department right now is maintenance. “A plant is a living thing and needs fencing and watering,” an official said. “You must invest a little time and attention for saplings.”

Have you planted a sapling and posted your selfie with it? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com