If you thought Mumbai’s green patches are depleting, it’s time to seek inspiration from Marol police. They transformed a 96-acre barren plot into an orchard in a month.
The Marol police headquarter premises at Andheri (East) that houses a training centre and residential complex, now has 550 fruit-bearing trees that have been planted by different groups of police personnel being trained at the location. They were ably guided by Kandivli and Andheri residents.
The plot has around 250 kesar mango trees from Ratnagiri and others such as Indian gooseberry (amla), tamarind, black plum, mudapples (chikoo), star apples, custard apples and banana.
“Earlier the green cover on our premises was about 40%. In the past month, it has gone up to 75%,” said Vinayak Mule, senior police inspector, Marol police headquarters.
Mule added within a span of two years, the area is likely to become bio-diverse – a rich habitat for avifauna (bird life) and butterflies. “We aim to plant 500 trees by next year,” he said. Nestled between Andheri-Ghatkopar Link Road and Aarey Road, the camp also houses families of police personnel in 1,000 flats, apart from being a state armed constabulary of 2,200 people.
“An increase in tree cover is a vital source of oxygen not only for residents but also a storehouse for future generations,” said Raman Gupta, resident of Andheri, who contributed 365 trees.
The trees were chosen by environment experts from Kandivli, Afzal and Nusrat Khatri, who were instrumental in transforming Samta Nagar police station into a green zone. “We focused more on planting fruit-bearing trees as they would be beneficial for the fauna as well as people residing in the area,” said Afzal.
“In a month, we educated the personnel who were being trained at the camp. We were taught the methods of planting fruit trees - equidistant from each other, planting the roots straight, removing excess soil from the base and providing enough water,” said Nusrat.
Every day, teams of 19 police personnel clear plastic waste from around the trees. “We selected the trainees based on prior farming experience to help others develop the garden,” said Prakash Shinde, team head, Marol police camp.