The Green Latur Vraksh Team is a nature conservation organization in Latur, Maharashtra and they have been doing some exceptional work to conserve and increase the green cover of the city.
The team at GLVT, or as the locals like to call them, the 'Yellow Army,' has been planting trees every single day for 1518 days without a holiday, not even on festivals. So far, they have planted around 1,10,000 trees and saved 38 green belts of Latur. Dr. Pavan Ladda, the founder of this initiative, and his members at the Green Latur Vraksh Team are true nature warriors.
The major motto of this team is to increase the green cover of the city. When the project was started back in 2016, there were very less number of trees in Latur as compared to other areas in Maharashtra. But as they say, beginnings are never easy, they faced many hindrances. People used to inhibit them to plant trees in their areas or demand for specific species, they had to take constant permission from the government and had no funds to run the project as it requires tankers, equipment, and saplings. “Few months after we plant the saplings, the local builders would uproot the trees to construct their projects, and this was disheartening to see,” says Abhishek, one of the members of the team. But after years of witnessing their work, the same people have given them the tag of ‘Yellow Army.’
Leaving No Tree Unplanted
The team consists of Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Army officers, children, senior citizens, housewives, and people from every aspect of life. Their day starts at 6:15 am, when they gather and start the tree plantation, water the saplings, and take care of the already planted trees. They wrap up everything by 9 am as everyone has to leave for work. They have left no area of the city unturned, be it schools, colleges, animal hospitals, Madarsas, cremation grounds, or orphanages. Villages like Sugaon and Ambulga have been transformed due to the efforts of the members, and almost every divider in the city is planted with trees. “It gives immense happiness to see women perform Pooja of the saplings that we plant and kids water the saplings with their water bottles while returning from school,” says Abhishek.
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Apart from the regular plantation drives, they also educate people about the importance of trees and conserving them. They encourage people to do so by innovative methods. One member of the team gifted 400 mogra (Arabian Jasmine) saplings to all the attendees at his wedding. They have also built a patch at the famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Chowk in the city where people can pay tribute to their loved ones who are no longer in this world by planting a sapling with their name on it. Abhishek states, “People come near this ‘Smruti Vruksh’ on their birthdays or anniversary and spent some time with their loved ones; watching them gives us a sense of satisfaction that our initiative is giving someone the quality time they need with their people while nourishing the environment.”
“It gives us sheer joy to witness the tree we planted years ago grow and become so big. It feels like you have raised a child. People who have gone outside the city due to various commitments and return home after a few years are shocked to see the change and greenery in the city and ask their family who is behind all this?” the member shares the collective feeling of the team.