In a first of its kind initiative, a group of volunteers have banded together to set up a Green Memorial Park for victims of Covid-19. Relatives and friends of the victims can plant a sapling in their memory on July 24 in Banjara Hills.
“This is entirely a people’s initiative generously supported by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the Department of Forests,” said Charan, who owns a pharma start-up and is the Coordinator of the Green Memorial.
On Sunday, the organisers will plant 60 saplings. “This is just the beginning. We will have the second phase of the initiative in August. We will take this beyond Hyderabad and Telangana to make it a national programme,” said Charan, describing how they are in talks with NGOs in different cities, including Delhi to replicate the Green Memorials.
Interestingly, it was through Twitter the volunteers of the initiative got together during the three waves of the pandemic. The memorial is the brainchild of Shanta Thoutam, Chief Innovation Officer, Telangana Government – but the idea was taken forward by other volunteers, including Charan and Sri Uha.
The motive behind a Green Memorial is both emotional and eco-friendly. “The saplings will be protected throughout, and we will enlist locals to nurture them,” Charan said. The GHMC has come forward to maintain the parks for a period of one year; while the Department of Forests will provide free saplings of local varieties to ensure longevity.
The idea has been an instant hit. “I would love to see a plant growing with my father’s name and to sit in part and reflect as many times as possible,’’ said Sai Eashwari, a lecturer in the city. She lost her father, who was a yoga teacher, in the third wave.
As per official data, the pandemic has claimed 4,111 lives in Telangana of total cases of 8.13 lakh as on date.
“The appeal of the memorial goes beyond Telangana. The pandemic has to be seen as a catastrophe equal to the World Wars. My uncle vanished in just five days,” said Siva Krishna, who registered his name online to plant a sapling in the memorial.