Give back to Earth what you took from it: Ravishankar

As part of global efforts to rejuvenate the soil, RID 3190 has launched the Koti Nati (planting one crore saplings) Project “to eradicate the polio of our planet,” said D Ravishankar, IPP, RC ­Bangalore Orchards, at the Indore Institute.

Past President of RC Bangalore Orchards D Ravishankar with (from L) PDG Suresh Hari, RI President Mark Maloney, RID Bharat Pandya and DG Sameer Hariani.
Past President of RC Bangalore Orchards D Ravishankar with (from L) PDG Suresh Hari, RI President Mark Maloney, RID Bharat Pandya and DG Sameer Hariani.

“I cringe every time Rotarians refer to me as ₹100 crore donor. Instead I would be happy if you call me someone who worked to protect the environment. For life is much beyond money and we follow the philosophy of giving back to society, for after all only society helped us to gain wealth,” he said. His club has recently completed 126 Happy Schools, 145 playschools and 45 anganwadis, benefitting 10,000 students a year. While Koti Nati is being implemented across ­Karnataka in a phased manner to plant 10 million saplings, “we have also initiated disbursement of 10 crore seed balls over mountainous terrains and reviving of dried up rivers and streams across the State. Former IAS officer K ­Amaranarayana has been inducted as Project Coordinator of Koti Nati.”However, last year (2018–19), RID 3190 could plant only 38 lakh saplings in Kolar and ­Chikkaballapur districts for want of skilled manpower, thanks to political turmoil in Karnataka.

Rotary is playing a mediatory role between the Central and State governments. The Central government releases MNREGA funds to the State governments, to be routed through zilla parishads and village panchayats to reach farmers, who are trained by Rotary and other NGOs. he said.All the 39 RI Districts can take up Koti Nati Project by tying up with local NGOs and respective State governments, said Ravishankar.

RID 3190 is collaborating with the Art of Living Foundation and other NGOs to implement this ambitious green mission which also enables farmers and rural people to get employment through the year. “Each farmer will get a daily wage of ₹250–300 for planting saplings in their villages.”

Talking about contributions to TRF, he pointed out that there is lack of clear understanding among Rotarians on why we need to give, where our money goes and how it is routed back as DDF and Annual Fund to finance Rotary projects. Rotary can connect the world only if it “first makes a connect with nature. We can create a better world if it is connected for a better cause of protecting the Earth,” he signed off.

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