Activist begins drive to plant 1,000 saplings on APJ’s anniversary

Assistant Commissioner of Police Kannan giving saplings to the public during the drive as Murugan onlooks.

Chennai: Planting saplings has become quite the craze in the city, with every discerning individual who cares about the environment that surrounds them getting their hands and feet muddy on a regular basis.

Being a staunch follower of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, N Murugan from Ambattur started doing it ten years ago, before all the fiasco started.

With 27 July being the fourth anniversary of his idol’s passing, Murugan wanted to do something big and organised a mega sapling plantation drive, where he would give away and plant a total of 1,000 saplings.

Speaking to News Today, the 48-year-old, said, “I have always been around plants. Working with the Forest Department, I have been helping people with plantation drives for many years now. But this one is close to my heart.”

Murugan said he had planned for it earlier but could not go through with the project because of failing monsoon. “This year, attention towards saving water is high and people have understood the importance of having green cover. So, I spent some cash, bought all the saplings and a couple of days ago, gave away 100, apart from planting nearly 50 saplings in and around the neighbourhood.”

However, arranging the drive has not been easy for him due to lack of support. “I have been working with Forest Department officials for quite some time now. But they could not lend me any help with the initiative due to lack of water. I tried contacting the owner of a supermarket in the neighbourhood for support. When that did not happen, I contacted the office of the Assistance Commissioner of Police. When Kannan heard from his peers that I had been conducting drives for many years, including planting saplings in the AC office premises, he immediately offered to support me.”

With AC Kannan giving away saplings to the public along with fellow policemen, Murugan said he was happy that a decent crowd turned up.

The cabbie said there are 850 saplings left and that he has plans to put them to good use. “Being a driver, I know the neighbourhood like the back of my hand. So, I will plant the saplings in a planned manner over time. It will take time, but there is only so much a single person can do.”

Asked why he has not formed a team for himself, he said, “There are a few friends who helped with saplings and the like. But it has to be a continuous effort. It was only recently that I got to understand and experience the power of social media like WhatsApp, for I am not a person who sides with the Internet. From now on, I am planning to learn it and possibly join hands with like-minded people.”

Murugan can be contacted at 9840059201.

Praveen Kumar S