Gwalior is where I was born and brought up. It was a small town then – of about a lakh and a half. Climatically, it was cold in winters and very hot in summers with temperatures touching 45 to 46 degrees Celsius. The town was seemingly situated in a bowl with hills all around that had only scrub forests that hosted small game and an occasional big cat. These used to radiate heat of the sun that would relentlessly beat down on these rocky hills with sparse vegetation. With the thrust on urban expansion most of these hills have since been colonised.
However, happy tidings have since come from the town. Yesterday a news report said that the collectors of the district - past and present - planted 5 lakh trees over the last four or five years ushering a 'green revolution' in the city and the district. Of the 5 lakh saplings that were planted more than 4 lakh have survived and most of them have become young trees. The success that the bureaucrats got in ensuring a relatively much higher survival-rate of the saplings was because of the detailed plans drawn up for their care and their meticulous execution. They seem to have avoided monoculture and have planted saplings of a variety of trees like neem, sheesham and gooseberry, etc. These are big trees, though not fast growing but of immense value.
The successive collectors solicited and received unqualified support from several NGOs, other informal organisations and people in general. The report says that while the 'green revolution' has touched the villages around Gwalior, the city itself has been brought within its sweep. The hills in and around the city are reported to be sporting a green appearance. The greening has
brought down the temperature by at least one degree Celsius and, the reports
say, precipitation in the town has also increased. Encouraged by the success,
the officials have taken up the work of greening the roadsides in the town.
Unlike the Bhopal Municipal Commissioner, they seem to be oriented differently
and are believers in the concept of developing roadside greenery
No wonder their efforts have brought recognition and rewards for the city and the district. The entire project and its implementation has been called for by the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie, and is going to be included as a case study in its curriculum on the subject of Environment to orient the probationers towards this important aspect of administration.
There seems to be still some hope for the country.
Photos: From the Internet