Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Plantation Drive Report

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.

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