In the last 25 years, the central park in Bhopal’s Rachna Nagar has seen a sea change. Once a hilly, barren patch of land, the area now abounds with rosewoods, teakwoods and banyans.
A former government employee, Dr DP Kanojiya, took it upon himself to give a ‘Midas touch’ to the barren patch soon after he purchased a piece of land in the area in 1989-90.
Kanojiya planted hundreds of sapling in the colony, watered and tended them regularly over the years and now at least 50 trees will welcome you to residential colony.
“I planted around 300 saplings that I had brought from various parts of Bhopal, watered them twice a day. It has been 25 years, now 50 have grown up to shade us from the worst of summer,” Kanojiya told HT. Some of the varieties include rosewood, teakwood, Australian teak, silver oak, which are used for construction. Plants with medicinal value, like amla, reetha, gooler (Indian fig tree), neem and even sandalwood stand tall in the society.
“I have been seeing Kanojiya ji for past 20 years toiling hard for these trees. He works like a one-man-army, running from his house carrying bucketsful of water. He even takes care of the birds nesting on these trees,” said artist Preeti Tamot, whose paintings have been inspired by the nature.
Retired district and sessions judge Dr Anil Thakre, who lives near Rachna Nagar, also appreciated Kanojiya’s work. “It is because of him that we can see trees around us that are usually found in dense forests.”
The green enthusiast, who has retired as the regional manager of MP State Cooperative Land Development Bank recently, also educates children in the area about the properties of each variety every evening.