In September 2005 when Janet Yegneswaran lost her husband, she wondered what could be done to keep his memory alive. That was the time when Bengaluru was witnessing felling of trees on a large scale. Many advised her to stage a dharna. But Janet decided to do something productive and started the Rajanet Yegneswaran Charitable Trust in memory of her husband.
Under this trust, she started planting saplings in the neighborhood. For the first time she planted a honge tree in her neighborhood on June 5, 2006.13 years later on the World Environment Day, the 68-year-old Janet is filled with pride as she admires the grown-up tree. Ever since then, Janet has been planting saplings and in a few days this resident of Ejipura, South Bengaluru will achieve the milestone of planting 75,000 saplings.
Proud Moment For Janet
Janet says, “It’s a proud moment to see the honge saplings planted by me, grow into a tree, near my house.” When she started planting the saplings “The response was lukewarm. While some agreed, others did not support me. But I did not give up,” says Janet. But she along with a few volunteers visited the neighborhood asking people if they were ready to take care of saplings if planted on the road.
Janet was benefited in this endeavor by her experience as a landscape designer at the Sri Kanteerava Stadium. Her expertise in picking up the right kind of saplings as per the area came handy while planting saplings in the neighborhood. Since 2006 she has been planting saplings and has crossed the borders of Bengaluru and reached parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Janet proudly says, “Many saplings have grown into trees at many locations in Bengaluru.’’ She has planted thousands of saplings in Krishnarajapura, Pai Layout, Begur, Electronics City, Tataguni, Talgatpura, Cambridge Layout, Koramangala, Jakkur Cross and many other areas in Bengaluru. She has played a major role in planting around 5,000 saplings in the districts of Tumkur and Chikkaballapur.
Planting Saplings On Request
Janet says, “We are ready to plant saplings at any place across the state if there is a request from anyone.” At present, the trust is planning to plant around 1,000 saplings in Coorg and 1,000 coconut saplings in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district. According to Janet, “Our project Thengaja involves planting 1,000 coconut saplings for delta farmers of Thanjavur affected by Cyclone Gaja. We are collaborating with Citizens for Awareness, for this project. They have identified 100 poor families and we will plant 10 coconut saplings for each family.’’
The good news is that Janet has received support from many corporates like Sony, KPMG, Nokia, and Samsung who have sponsored the saplings at places they have selected. Janet says, “We get some money from corporates to plant saplings in the campus or at selected locations. When residents and farmers want to plant saplings, we do it free of cost.”
Whenever the trust of Janet plants saplings in the neighborhood, the residents are expected to prepare the pit and promise to take care of the small plants. Janet says, “The objective is to make the residents take ownership of the plants. We only plant saplings if the residents assure us that they will water and look after them.”