06 Feb Tree planting campaign at the univ park, kariavattom
It was like the mid 90’s. Late dr. Pk Rajan was a member in the syndicate of the u of k. I always had a problem with Rajan whenever I realized the syndicate was veering in new policies just to curry favor the lefties. But we were good friends too. Across a coffee table in the canteen we decided to launch a tree planting campaign in the campus at kariavattom. He took the responsibility to supply the planting stuff and took charge of managing the mission with the support of students and research scholars.
By the first week of May, a few hundred stumps of teak was unloaded in the space outside of the registrars office at trivandrum and to the east side. No one knew the reason for the supply of the stumps by the social forestry wing of Kerala forest department. I made a visit to the office of the registrar and was curiously prompted by the sight of the planting stuff, to enquire who, why and when like questions to the staff.
All they knew was it was supplied by forest department but did not know who intended it. But then I connected the dots and then tried contact Rajan quickly but without success.
I then told the staff that the stuff is drying in the hot sun of May, and should not be lying there instead should go to university park kariavattom.
Well Rajan also caught the news and the following day in the an the stuff came down to the security office in kariavattom. I with the help of students launched the planting mission on several post lunch sessions. The plants by that were nearly dead and some mistakes in planting also compounded the failure of the task. Many did not come up and growing. Reasons are that there was no arrangement for watering the plants. Putting the plants in the holes was incorrect. The students did not carefully fill the hole, with adequate volume of soil followed by pouring a desired volume of water such that the air trapped in the hole is driven off and plant is securely in place.
I never made a count of the number of plants that established themselves.the. Lesson I learned is very simple. In all such campaigns the end result will not be realized because of the poor planning and lack of correct logistics. Interestingly the staff of botany department did not passionately participate in the mission.
But Rajan was determined and so was I.