Chennai: When Sathishkumar Pichandi took part in the massive jallikattu movement that got national recognition, little did he know about the indigenous trees and plants. His quest landed him in devouring as much information as possible on palmyra varieties. What began there snowballed and has led him advocate planting the native kind to build a resilient place in Tamilnadu. In two years, ‘Panai’ Sathish, as he is popularly known as, has organised several initiatives to take the message to nooks and corners of the State besides planting the saplings.
Continuing his efforts, come 22 September, he is expecting around six lakh sapling to be planted in Tamilnadu with the help of 300 not-for-profit initiatives. In Chennai, the drives are held at the city’s shoreline (from Adyar Creek), Ambattur, Tambaram, Minjur, Thiruninravur and Thiruverkadu.
“The native plant is rich in value and I realised that there are only a few hyperlocal NGOs that are taking the cause with a pinch and plant saplings. The benefits cannot be reaped when the development is happening at a snail’s space. With this initiative, all the local NGOs would be united to plant 2,000 saplings each on that day,” he says.
To keep an account of the data, people involved in the activity have to upload the picture of the sapling after being planted on the GPS application.
In the previous years, the youngster, along with a group of like-minded volunteers conducted such drives along the waterbodies in Tambaram and Ambattur.
While they are striving to bring back the traditional approach to build a resilient city, things are not easy. “As the Public Works Department were ignorant of saplings being planted along one of the lakes in Tambaram, they were destroyed when they had undertaken desilting works. To ensure this does not recur, we have decided to communicate with the government and select the lake which would not be taken up for rejuvenation process any sooner,” Sathish adds.
Explaining how it can help build a resilient city, he states, “The trees, strong in nature, can endure natural calamities without affecting the residents living on the edge. When a row of palm trees are planted, being deep-rooted, it combats deluge.”
The uses of palmyra trees are aplenty and the youngster vouches that the products made of the tree is one of the best alternative to plastic products. “It further meets all the needs to lead a self-sustainable life.”
Further, several self-help groups in the interiors uses the leaf, bark and other parts to weave baskets, containers and other such products that helps boost the local economy