Until June 2022, a one-acre plot on the outskirts of Patamda village, 35km from Jamshedpur, at East Singhbum district, was a barren piece of land. The Rotarians of RC Jamshedpur Steel City, RID 3250, commenced the new Rotary year by planting 1,000 native saplings on this patch of land, naming it ‘The Hope Grove’.
“We are awaiting the monsoon season to set in and will be planting more saplings in the coming months,” says club president Amrita Vakharia. Environmental experts and community members were consulted and naturalised species such as teak, sheesham, karanj, neem, mahua, jackfruit, jamun and mango, suitable for the local ecology, were chosen for the plantation.
The objective, says Amrita, is to create a sustainable ecosystem and improve the air quality, soil and moisture conservation, and create a favourable environment for the villagers and the habitats. “Our community forest with its lush greenery will soon enhance the beauty of the area. We have built a Rotary gate at the entry point and since the land is on the West Bengal highway, it is a perfect way to enhance Rotary’s public image.” The entire area will be fenced to protect the plants and the saplings will be scientifically groomed for one year by the Aadiwasi Welfare Foundation. “We decided it will not be a one-time affair where we plant saplings ceremoniously and later forget about them. So we roped in experts to nurture them and ensure that the plants grow into a healthy forest. Every member was excited to participate in this initiative,” she says.
Amrita is hopeful that the forest, with its fruit-bearing trees and medicinal herbs, will benefit the 500 families residing in the village in the next 10–15 years.