Monday, March 1, 2021

Only post-plantation care will give the desired results: Gaurav Taori | Nagpur News – Times of India

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NAGPUR: Thirty-year-old Gaurav Taori, has started a revolution in the field of sapling plantation by inventing Rakshak, a self-watering tree guard. A Nagpurian and director of Rainbow Greeners, Taori has planted over one million trees for various organizations across the country. Rakshak not only provides water through moisture, but also safeguards saplings from stray animals. In an interview with TOI, Taori talks about how Rakshak is making an impact on our environment.
Q. How did Rakshak come about?
A. Our company (Rainbow Greeners) is into plantation and landscape development since 1986. We were facing problems pertaining to the survival rate of plantations. After a thorough study, we learnt that the problem was due to inadequate watering and stolen tree guards. The other options such as a bamboo tree guard or a plastic net didn’t have the strength as well as lifespan. Water reaching the roots was equally important for the plant’s growth. Various issues led to the invention of Rakshak, a self-watering tree guard. We tested Rakshak for two years and after getting good results in terms of the growth of plants despite reduced water input, we thought of providing it for public use at an economical rate.
Q. The technology which your company is promoting seems expensive.
A. The cost to grow a plant and get it transformed into a tree is invaluable. However, the cost of this technology is cheaper than the other methods available in the market. The use of self-watering tree guards ensures 70% water conservation along with the growth of the plant. The design makes the plant yield good commercial value. The Supreme Court is mulling on a report which claims to calculate the cost of a plant based on the oxygen it gives us to breathe. The other options available are guards made of steel and bricks, which are costlier than self-watering tree guards and do not have any irrigation facility. Rakshak is not just a tree guard but a medium to facilitate all that is needed for a plant to grow. Hence, it’s we who have to decide how much we can invest for a better environment. It is equally important to save water and also ensure the plant’s growth in less time. Such results come at a cost and the value gained is much more. Simultaneously, we are also working on reducing the cost and mass production which will help us get raw material and labour at lesser rates.
Q. How much time does it take to plant one sapling with your technology?
A. After the site is ready for plantation with excavated pits, soil and manure, it just takes 5-7 minutes to plant a sapling and install a self-watering tree guard. Most of the work is done in the factory and only installation is done at the site. This saves a lot of time compared to the conventional methods.
Q. Is your technology foolproof?
A. No technology is full proof, it is always an evolving process. In the case of plantations, the most important thing is post-plantation care. As the technology is new, we are educating our channel partners for its execution on a mass level. There are no failures as such but a few shortcomings related to the behavioural pattern of citizens. Bamboos are stolen, leaves are plucked and stems of plants like Neem are removed for personal use. These factors lead to decay of plants and mortality in a few cases.
Q. Who should be held responsible for the failure of plantation drives?
A. Climate can never be a reason for any kind of failure. We have to come up with innovate solutions. Looking at the city geographically, we must use technology that offers sustainability with optimized consumption of resources. We should plant only local/native species to enrich biodiversity. People must encourage and participate in plantation drives by not just planting trees but also nurturing them. Every plantation activity must be initiated with a proper plan, including post-plantation care. For good maintenance of the plantation, workers and agencies should be paid on time to meet their recurring expenses. Things are not going to be fine by just by handing over the maintenance job to the contractor. To get good results, this mentality has to change. We plant trees in vacant areas without good soil and manure. At times, this may be one of the reasons for failure. Individuals in the authority have always been helpful in providing support for plantation activities. Their role in survival and success rate of plantation is instrumental. They must ensure execution of plantation work as a critical part of infrastructure development. People are learning the importance of conserving and developing natural habitats. This will yield good results in the future.
Q. Should sapling plantation be made mandatory for every family?
A. NIT had taken the initiative of planting fruit trees in households and families were given the responsibility of maintaining it on their own. This is possible in certain areas where there are bungalows and people have easy access to water. Keeping anything compulsory might not help but educating people regarding nurturing plantations and penalizing them for creating hurdles may motivate them to adopt a sapling. Just asking a family to plant a tree isn’t enough. Maintenance and a family-like bond are important. Plants are to be cared for like humans in their infancy.
Q. How do you see people’s response in terms of saving or planting saplings?
A. These days, people are very aware about plantation and nature’s well-being. Various groups coming in support of environmental activities is a testimony to this cause. The response is good in certain areas but there are people who steal tree guards and material to fulfil their parallel needs. They take away the life of a plant in its developing stage. People also prune branches of trees for better visibility of their homes.
Q. Are you getting enough support?
A. Plantation is still not a priority for many authorities. They do it for the sake of fulfilling environmental obligations. Many authorities are simply fulfilling their plantation targets. The results, after 1, 2 or 3 years, are never surveyed and disclosed. Plantation must be taken up by authorities by involving those having technical experience in growing plants. Successful tree plantation is not just another job. It takes skills and geo specific decisions to achieve good results. The ultimate desire to have a better environment for our next generation will urge authorities to optimize plantation techniques. We have got support from the authorities because this technology is result-oriented and user friendly. The characteristics of the self-watering tree guard are beneficial for the plant’s growth and addresses all the concerns for its survival and good health. The merits and results of the product are visible to all. Gradually, people are noticing it and approaching us to know more about the method.

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