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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

Dev's return gift to Ghatal: Mission green

After filing his nomination papers, Dev announced he would plant as many trees as the number of votes he received if he wins the Lok Sabha polls. However, the actor extended his pledge and announced he would plant trees equal to the number of total votes polled in his constituency, excluding NOTA

Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 13.06.24, 08:50 AM
Trinamool’s Ghatal MP and actor Dev plants a tree at Sabang in West Midnapore on Sunday.

Trinamool’s Ghatal MP and actor Dev plants a tree at Sabang in West Midnapore on Sunday. Picture by Buddhadev Bera

Actor and two-time Trinamool Congress MP from Ghatal, Dev aka Deepak Adhikari, has taken up an initiative to plant over 15 lakh trees, matching the number of votes polled in his constituency, as part of a mission— Green Ghatal — over the next five years of his tenure.

After filing his nomination papers, Dev announced he would plant as many trees as the number of votes he received if he wins the Lok Sabha polls.

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However, the actor extended his pledge and announced he would plant trees equal to the number of total votes polled in his constituency, excluding NOTA.

The MP made the new pledge while beginning the plantation drive from Sabang — one of the seven Assembly segments that fall under Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency — on Sunday.

"I began the plantation drive as promised. Earlier, I promised to plant trees equal to the number of votes I get. After receiving a lot of appeals from different spheres, I decided to plant trees to match the total number of votes polled in Ghatal. I will plant trees matching the number of votes cast even in favour of the BJP, the CPI or any other candidate. Yes, I will exclude the NOTA votes, as they did not want any candidates contesting the election," Dev told the audience in Sabang on Sunday.

In Ghatal, all seven candidates who contested the Lok Sabha polls received a total of 16,00,556 votes, with 12,966 votes cast for NOTA. Dev alone got 8,37,990 votes this time, defeating the BJP's Hiranmoy Chattopadhyay by a margin of 1,82,868 votes.

Hence, Dev will plant 15,87,590 plants in the next five years. The task is not easy as the MP has to plant over three lakh trees a year to complete his mission.

A senior Trinamool leader said if Dev could plant such a huge number of trees, he would become the first MP in the country to achieve such a green mission.

"I don't know whether any MP has taken such an initiative earlier. We will plant trees on either side of the roads across my constituency. The result was published on June 4, and it is Sunday (June 9) when I came up to keep my promise," added the MP.

A source in TMC said that apart from Sabang, the TMC workers planted a total of 10,000 trees in other areas like Daspur and Debra on Sunday — the inaugural day of the mammoth tree plantation drive.

Manas Bhunia, a minister and Sabang MLA, said it was a very good initiative as a vast area of the Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency is lowland, and trees would help prevent soil erosion and heatwaves in the western part of the state.

"Dev started his plantation drive from Sabang. I welcome his initiative. We have also planned to plant trees in addition to what the MP will plant," said Bhunia, who was present at the inaugural ceremony of the plantation drive in Sabang's Uchitpur village.

For Ghatal, flood control is a challenge as the vast area is inundated every year during the monsoon.

The state government had made a Ghatal Master Plan in 2012 to build a robust flood management system, estimated to cost 1,200 crore.

However, as the Centre denied sanctioning its 50 per cent share, the plan could not be implemented so far.

Dev initially declined to contest the election as the Ghatal Master Plan was not executed. However, after Mamata Banerjee announced that the state government would solely execute the Plan, Dev agreed to be in the fray.

A source said that Dev met with the state irrigation department over the Ghatal Master Plan on Wednesday. "Primary talks have been done. Let's see when the government sanctions funds," said the source.

A TMC leader in Ghatal said that as soon as the election result was announced on June 4, Dev ordered 25,000 saplings from 10 nurseries to be delivered when required, including saplings of mango, jackfruit and rose apple, along with shaal and teak.

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