Nature lovers, no matter where they are, will always strive to protect their surroundings and try to grow plants. Such people are not just in love with nature, they are also in love with the people around them. Nature and humans are a vital part of our existence and hence it is very important that humans are always surrounded by greenery.
But unfortunately, over the centuries, humans have destroyed and chopped off the trees just to make their houses. Now, there is a constant struggle to breathe fresh air in many of the Indian cities. The growing urbanisation has made cities into concrete jungles wherever you see.
However, there are certain people who work selflessly to promote greenery in their cities. Similar is the case with Devender Sura, a Chandigarh police constable, as he is also one among them. He has been working for the last six years to make his hometown Sonepat in Haryana greener and healthier.
His inspiration is none other than ‘The City Beautiful’ Chandigarh. The city was planned by the French architect, Le Corbusier, the city is known for its magnificent greenery with the backdrop of Shivalik Hills.
Sura claims that he has spent over 28 to 30 lakhs from his own pocket since 2012 when he had started this initiative and now Sura’s initiative has reached to 152 village Panchayats in Sonepat district apart from the main town.
He is connected with over 2000 youths in and around the district and he plants trees across Haryana with help of team formed in association with village panchayats.
“When I first saw Chandigarh after joining the force, I got mesmerised by the beauty of the city and certainly greenery was the core of that beauty. I thought of doing the same with my own city Sonepat and decided to follow what Corbusier had done-planting one type of tree on one road. Corbusier had chosen Pilkhan and so did I,” said the 30-year-old cop.
Pilkhan, Pipal and other plants
Ficus Infectoria aka Pilkhan was chosen by Corbusier to be planted in newly built Chandigarh in large numbers and Sura too started with it.
“Pilkhan grows faster which helps to make the area greener quickly. I too decided to plant it in my city. Pipal is another tree which people love to plant because it too covers a large area and helps in keeping surrounding coolers with its dense its dense shade. Now we have all sorts of plants which we give people free of cost including the medicinal plants,” added Sura.
His managing skills
Sura too has a family with two young kids. Yet he spends almost all of his salary making the surroundings green. How does he do that? He answered, “My salary is Rs 51 thousand and almost all get exhausted in this initiative. It was one of the reasons my family was against it, but I had decided what I have to do. My father is a guard in SBI and he gets his army pension which helps in taking care of the household.”
Being a cop is tough and odd working hours is a reality, how does Sura get over these impediments. “I am placed in security which has 24 hours shift and 48-hour rest plus I have off days. I somehow manage to get this moving,” added he.
Adversities are natural to the causes such as the one Sura has adopted and decided to pursue. “I always had financial issues and even now I am repaying the loan. Initially, I purchased plants from private nurseries from the city itself which did cost me heftily. Then I started purchasing it from UP farmers in bulk which helped me to reduce the cost by half,” added Sura.
Sura knew importing plants and saplings from UP won’t help and he had to learn how to grow these own his own. “Then I decided to learn the art of growing and nurturing tree by staying with those farmers. I stayed there for 15 or more days and learnt nuances of nursing the saplings and hence this nursery and from here, I supply plants across the state,” said Sura who took this piece of land on rent of Rs 50 thousand a year.
City, villages and across the state
“We have made in the teams in 152 villages in Sonepat district alone and all these people are volunteers who take plants from here and plant them in Ashrams, schools, temples, panchayat land and any other open space which needs to be made green,” said Sura. Sura sends plants to other districts as well and anybody can come to take any plant from him and that too for free. “I take only one assurance from the person who comes to me for plants-the assurance of keeping the plant alive by taking care of it,” he added.
Not just greener it is healthier too
“Till now, a total 230 individual have forsaken using motored vehicles for short distances for good. We have stopped using tractor when we go distribute plants, we use bullock cart now to contain pollution.”
“We also organise drives against the sale of adulterated sweets during the season of Diwali. We make sweet with pure milk and ghee at our nursery and distribute it among people. The time too, we will make sweets weighing over 1000 kg to serve family, friends and people,” added Sura.