Kerala doctor's ‘sapling treatment’ turns Adimaly green

Thanks to his unconditional love for nature, close to a hundred trees stand along NH 85 in the Adimaly area offering shade to passersby and a resting place to birds.
Canopy trees planted by K Sudheendran alongside the national highway in Adimaly | Express
Canopy trees planted by K Sudheendran alongside the national highway in Adimaly | Express

IDUKKI: If anyone uproots saplings or chops down trees that K Sudheendran -- a retired government doctor in Adimaly -- has planted, he would tell his colleagues: “Let them do it. We’ll plant another one... at least the birds can rest on its branches and eat its berries.”

Thanks to his unconditional love for nature, close to a hundred trees stand along NH 85 in the Adimaly area offering shade to passersby and a resting place to birds. Interestingly, Sudheendran, 77, also gifts saplings to visitors.

His mission to spread greenery in his surroundings began in 1986, when he settled down in Adimaly after being transferred from Kannur, where he was serving as a physician at a primary health centre. “I plant trees because they are essential to sustain life on earth and to maintain ecological balance,” Sudheendran, who is now on a visit to his daughter in Saudi Arabia, told TNIE over the phone.

“Human activities have caused huge damage to mother nature. I’m only putting in a small effort to save her from further degradation.” According to his manager, Sidharthan R K, the doctor collects saplings -- including nonnative flowering and canopy trees -- when he visits places across the country.

Before planting them on the roadside, Sudheendran first grows them at his homestead for a while to check whether the tree can adapt to the climate in the high ranges of Idukki. The trees Sudheendran has planted on the Adimaly-Idukki, Adimaly-Munnar and Adimaly- Kothamangalam routes -- on a one-km stretch on each route -- include cassia rose, jacaranda, terminalia paniculata (maruth) and bauhinia veriegata (mandaram), among others.

When the trees bear flowers in summer, the entire landscape in Adimaly acquires a beautiful look. From erecting fences to watering the plants occasionally, Sudheendran himself cares for the plants until they attain maturity, pointed out his friend, Sethu K Mangattu, an Adimaly resident.

“Even when some of the trees were chopped down by local residents and saplings damaged by miscreants, he went on planting more saplings. He never got into any vicious arguments with anybody,” he said.

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