Newlyweds in this UP village have to plant a tree and nurture it as first born
Atul and Sandhya, became the first newlywed couple in Amni Lokipur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Kaushambi district, to plant a sapling with a pledge to nurture it as their first born and in the process set off a unique eco-conservation drive.
All 3,700 residents of Amni Lokipur village of Mooratganj development block have resolved that every newly married couple in the village will henceforth enter their house only after planting the sapling of a shade and fruit giving tree, which they will also undertake to protect and nurture till maturity.
“Ours is a small village... Over the years, our lush green village with a number of fruit and shade giving trees has lost much of its green cover as the size of farms and houses increased,” former gram pradhan of the village Swatantra Singh said. The ‘Nurture a tree like your first child’ initiative is Singh’s brainchild.
Singh said most of the trees planted every year failed to reach maturity in the village owing to lack of proper care, noticing this he ran an information campaign on trees’ role in stabilising the soil and keeping the farmlands fertile. The villagers then jointly came up with the idea for newly-weds to plant and adopt a sapling.
“If by any chance the sapling dies, the couple will have to plant a new one and repeat the pledge,” said Lakhan Lal, a marginal farmer and also the new village pradhan.
26-years old Atul and 23-years old Sandhya planted the sapling of a Peepal tree on May 30 and said they planned to look after it “as long as we live”.
June 16 and 21 will see two more newly-weds repeat the exercise, said Arvind Singh, the secretary of the Amni Lokipur gram panchayat.
The village has recently been adopted by the Prayagraj-based Red Eagle Division of the Indian Army that has begun holding medical camps and training educated rural youths to work as nursing assistants in corona times.
On June 5, the World Environment Day, the residents of the village along with the army personnel, planted 100 trees in two government-run schools and the teachers pledged to look after them as their kids. They also resolved to involve students in plant conservation.
A serving army officer and a village native, Captain Sarvesh Kumar Tripathi said the initiative was more important for the values it would likely inculcate in the young and the kids, who would inherit it in future. “We hope every new beginning in not just Amni Lokipur but also nearby villages is marked by planting a tree,” he said.