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‘Green volunteers’ will join hands with jawans to spread plantation

dehradun Updated: Jul 23, 2017 20:00 IST
Anupam Trivedi 
School students plant a sapling in the Army Cantonment area in Dehradun.

School students plant a sapling in the Army Cantonment area in Dehradun.(HT Photo)

Vinita Yadav and Krishna Nautiyal are among the 200 odd students who are being trained by experts to spread a green cover across the state in coming months. As part of the junior Ecological Task Force (ETF), these ‘green volunteers’ will not only plant trees of various species, but also transfer the acquired knowledge to others.

The junior ETF is the brainchild of Uttarakhand Science Education and Research Centre (USERC). The name has been picked from the Ecological Task Force (ETF), 127th Infantry Battalion of Territorial Army. The ETF, which was given the herculean task of turning the Shivalik hills green after excessive lime stone mining in 1981, has not only transformed the Shivalik hills, but also helped in plantation across the state during the last three decades. The ETF has now partnered with USERC to support junior ETF.

“The government backing is very crucial to take plantation drive to the next level. We will ensure the future green warriors are equipped with the necessary knowledge (for plantation),” said Col HRS Rana, commanding officer, ETF. The men in olive green shared information on seeding to plantation and the care it needs further with the students from four districts in Dehradun on Saturday.

For class 8th student Anshika Mahar, it was a lifetime experience. “I will grow this leechi sapling in my home,” said Anshika with a smiling face, as she ploughed a seedling from one of the nurseries developed by ETF at Army cantonment area.

Prof Durgesh Pant, director, USERC, said raising the junior ETF is a multidimensional idea. Uttarakhand has nearly 2,300 government schools and hundreds of private schools and they all will be roped in the programme, he added.

Prof Pant said that the students were chosen for the cause “because the young brains are adaptive” and “they (the students) have appeal to influence society”. “Moreover, we will have a large army of green volunteers, who will ensure the sapling becomes a tree,” he added.

A formal launch of the junior ETF will happen shortly. Chief minister’s officer on special duty, Dhirendra Panwar who witnessed the soft launch of the junior ETF, said, “The idea sounds promising and government will support the initiative.”

Prof Pant said USERC has requested ETF to provide saplings of commercially beneficial plants so that the plantation can also support local economy.