After many if’s and but’s, IIT Bhubaneswar
finally shifted to its permanent campus in the month of July this year. Though
the location of the campus, Arugul, was green and scenic, it lacked in organization. Raw nature, as one would call it, dominated the overall scenery. Since
beautiful campuses are a trademark of IITs across India (only those who have a
permanent campus in the first place), IIT Bhubaneswar too embarked on its
journey to fulfill this requirement by organizing theme-based plantation drives
with the assistance of the Central Horticultural Experiment
Station (CHES), Bhubaneswar of the Indian Institute of Horticultural
Research (IIHR), which provided the
saplings for the same.
Banking on the enthusiasm of students on moving to Arugul, the administration
also decided to include them in this drive (although it ended up in fewer-than-expected
plantations and more-than-expected photographs). The first in the list were the
popular, ever-loved Mango trees. Around 500 mango trees of 75 varieties were
planted by students in the presence of Dr. H.S. Singh - Principal Scientist &
Head of CHES, Bhubaneswar
and the Hon. Director of the Institute Prof. R.V. Raja Kumar. This was followed
by a speech by Dr. Singh on the activities of CHES and the ongoing research. He
highlighted the importance of research to improve the standards of living in
the country and how biologists are trying to reduce hunger by developing better
variety of seeds.
Second phase of the initiative began with Souls for Solace, Social Welfare
Society of IIT Bhubaneswar, taking up the center-stage. Around 30 students
volunteered for the plantation which was themed at planting Teak trees along a
portion of the boundary wall of the Institute campus. The plantation ‘was
scheduled’ to start at 10 am but due to unforeseen circumstances (read highly
punctual habits of students and professors) started with a minimal delay of
half an hour. Quite an improvement, considering the fact that shifting to
Arugul got delayed by 1.5 years. As it began, Dr. Manikandan, PIC Horticulture,
guided the students and helped them understand proper ways to plant and water
the saplings. Although the Director wasn’t present this time, the students
didn’t show any drop in their fervor (more so because they were posing and
praying simultaneously to make it to the homepage of the Institute website). Tractors
laden with saplings along with a water-tanker made it easier for volunteers to
work without involving physical labour.
As time passed, working under the heat of the Sun became even more exhausting.
Students (who were present just for sake of it) left upon realizing that they
had enough photos for a day. The work continued and teachers from different
schools (Dr. Barathram Ramkumar, Dr. Hanumanta Rao, Dr. Debi Prasad Dogra) whole-heartedly took up the task along with the reduced number of students.
Liquid refreshments and replenishing juices were provided during a 10-minute
break after 1 hour of hard-work. The team called it a day after planting about
200+ trees in a span of only 1.5 hrs. Photos were taken with students and
teachers drenched in their sweat, wearing the smiles stemming from the joy of
their first ever contribution towards their very own permanent campus.