Dhangadhi encouraging public to plant saplings in memory of their loved onesThe sub-metropolis has been encouraging citizens to participate in its tree plantation campaign launched with the aim of greening the city.
Tapendra Bohara, a 26-year-old man from Boradandi in ward 3 of Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City, Kailali, originally from Dadeldhura, can be seen watering a sapling on the side of the six-lane Geta-Dhangadhi road every morning.
The sapling he has been watering daily was planted in memory of his grandmother who passed away a couple of months ago.
The sub-metropolis has been encouraging citizens to participate in its plantation drive titled ‘Make the City Green’ launched with the aim of turning the city green and making it eco-friendly.
“I miss my grandmother every day. She was a huge presence in my life and since her passing, I have been searching for ways to honour her,” said Bohara. “That’s when I heard about the metropolis’ plantation drive wherein they request members of the public to plant a sapling in memory of their deceased family members.”
The sub-metropolis provides saplings, protective casings, and fertilisers to those who want to participate in the drive. “They also put a sticker with my grandmother’s name next to the sapling,” said Bohara. “I take pleasure in taking care of the sapling thinking of my grandmother who took care of me when she was alive.”
According to Gopal Hamal, mayor of the sub-metropolis, the tree plantation drive took its current form in mid-June this year. “We have always promoted planting trees and making the city green but a couple of months back, we decided to lend a noble cause to the plantation drive,” said Hamal. “Those who do not have space to plant trees in their homes can approach us to plant trees on the sidewalks of our city roads.”
Everyone is allowed to plant trees on the sidewalks on their own. But for anyone paying a fee of Rs5,000, the sub-metropolis itself supplies the sapling, a protective cage and fertiliser, said Hamal. “The money goes into taking care of the trees and beautification of the city,” he said.
According to the data of the sub-metropolis, since mid-June, around 5,500 saplings have been planted on the sidewalks of the city. Some 812 volunteered to participate in the drive.
Kandakala Kumari Rana, deputy mayor of the sub-metropolis, said that they have collected Rs4.06 million from local residents and other agencies and organisations to put the name of their deceased loved ones on the protective casings around the saplings.
Siblings Trilochan Upadhyay and Mitradev Lamichhane, originally from Panchthar district, who have been living in Dhangadhi, have also planted two saplings on the same road stretch as Bohara in memory of their parents.
Lamichhane said that even though the sub-metropolis has taken the responsibility to take care of the saplings, doing the hard work himself is proving to be therapeutic for him. “Like us, several other people who do not have the space to grow trees come here daily to water and nurture the saplings. It provides us with a sense of belonging and helps us connect with those we have lost,” said Lamichhane.
The sub-metropolis has arranged for a special team of policemen to guard the saplings from miscreants and vandals, said Rana. “While most people of the sub-metropolis have taken the tree plantation drive positively, there are some who are damaging the saplings. That’s why we have sought help from the police. A special police team led by Bhupendra Khadka, head of the sub-metropolis police force, is in charge of the safety of the plants,” he said.
Khadka said that the team monitors and guards the plants and takes strict action against those up to mischief.
“Several financial, educational, and other commercial institutions have also come forward to support and promote our ‘Make the City Green’ campaign. We have set a target of planting 5,000 saplings every year in the city. We are working on upgrading our policies and budget to further boost this campaign,” said Hamal.