CUDDALORE: The millionth sapling planted by the former President APJ Abdul Kalam in Cuddalore Collector’s camp office in 2012 will stand tall as a symbol of his aspiration towards a green environment.
In the first phase of ‘Green Kalam’ initiative, coordinated by actor Vivek, one million saplings were planted across the State with the help of volunteers and educational institutions, and the millionth sapling was planted in Cuddalore by Kalam in June 2012.
Speaking to Express, Cell Murugan, co-actor of Vivek, said, “In order to counter pollution and global warming, Abdul Kalam had put forward the idea of mass tree plantation drive to Vivek and this resulted in the launch of ‘Green Kalam’ initiative. While beginning the plantation drive, Kalam told us that he himself would plant the millionth sapling in Cuddalore because it was the district that was affected by tsunami.”
He further said, “After completing plantation of 10 lakh saplings across the State, Kalam had come to Cuddalore to plant the millionth sapling in the presence of Vivek and other officials. While speaking at the function there, he instructed us to continue the plantation drive until it reaches one crore saplings. Following his words, we have planted 27 lakh saplings so far and the drive is still continuing to achieve the target.”
Recalling the event, the then Collector of Cuddalore, Rajendhra Ratnoo said, “Kalam planted the sapling in front of the Collector’s camp office and he stayed for two hours in the Collector’s residence before leaving for another function.”
“During that two-hour stay, he inquired about the damage caused to teh Cuddalore district by the Thane cyclone. When I told him about the loss of lakhs of trees in the cyclone. It was then that he instructed me to take steps for planting more saplings,” Ratnoo recalled.