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Hyderabad’s Covid Memorial Parks Consoling People and Helping Nature

Hyderabad recently saw the opening of unique parks that are dedicated to the memory of Covid victims. Family members can plant a tree in the memory of a dear one whom they lost to Covid and also tag the tree and write messages on it. This first-of-its-kind parks in the country, the Haritham Parks are now providing healing to many who lost their loved ones to Covid.
Indian Masterminds Stories

We have heard of Covid initiatives that saved and protected people from the virus and rushed help to the victims and families in the form of healthcare and related support. But, the Covid initiative that we are going to talk about now is slightly different. Its aim is to honour the ones whose lives were taken away by this virus. We are referring to Hyderabad’s green memorial parks for Covid martyrs. In these parks, trees are planted by families and volunteers in memory of Covid martyrs. These first-of-its-kind parks in the country are called Haritham (green) Parks and are now healing many who lost their loved ones to Covid.

The Haritham Park initiative is not only a unique concept, it is also a reminder of the memories, emotions, bonds and attachments cherished with lost relatives and friends. At the same time, it also reminds us about the connection between nature and human beings, the importance of planting trees, protecting the environment, and setting priorities.

Indian Masterminds interacted with IFS officer Mohan Chandra Pargaien, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF Development), Hyderabad and one of the creators of the initiative, Charan, to know more about this initiative.

IFS officer Mohan Chandra Pargaien (from right, second), Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF Development), Hyderabad with Charan (from right, first)

EMOTIONAL MOMENT

The initiative, that was initially started by just two people who were then joined by others to form a small team, has now extended to such a big scale that the Telangana government, forest officials and many other important dignitaries are involved in it. For many people who participate in the programme of tree planting, it is a very emotional time. They write special messages for their dear ones who they lost during the pandemic. Some messages read “Miss you Baba”, “In Memory of Mom…”, and so on. The initiative has been warmly welcomed by the city’s residents as, for many of them too, it is an emotional one.

Covid Volunteers at Parks

THE CREATORS

The initiative was started by Charan and Sri Uha. Charan is director of TSIRS Pharmaceuticals and also a Covid volunteer. Later, they involved IFS officers, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and Members of Parliament, etc., in it to grow it further.The park is gathering wide public support as seeing beloved ones growing in the form of trees is very comforting for all. People can come to the parks, spend some time there, and recall their memories of their dear ones who are no more in this world. Till now, more than 500 saplings have been planted in two parks in Hyderabad in two phases. The third phase will start in September.

“This is a very novel initiative to remember the people who were lost during the pandemic in the form of a tree that will last for around 50-60 years,” said a member of the public who planted a sapling in memory of a family member.

Volunteers with MP Santosh Kumar

EXTENDING HELP

Speaking to Indian Masterminds, IFS officer Pargaien said, “Charan and the other team member came to us for technical assistance on plantation and we guided them. We also did a Twitter space where many people joined us and gave us many ideas. In plantation, it is very necessary that the right sapling should be in the right place. I suggested local species as they have a high success rate and maintenance is low. Since it is in memory of someone, so, the plant should survive for maximum years.”

Charan and Sri Uha

COVID MEMORIAL

Mr. Charan told Indian Masterminds, “Having worked as a volunteer during the pandemic, I witnessed people leaving this world without final goodbyes. And family members are still recovering from that sudden shock. So I and Sri Uha, who is program officer at WeHub Telangana, thought of planting trees in memory of those people who left so suddenly, so soon. We requested GHMC for a dedicated park, which they granted.”

In the first phase, 60 saplings were planted on July 26 at a dedicated park of GHMC at Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. This is now open for public. Each of the 60 saplings is tagged with the name of some Covid victim along with messages from family members.

Plating a sapling

In the second phase, 400 saplings were planted on August 14 in the Jubilee Hills area. Compared to the first phase, more people turned up this time. The third phase will start in September. As of now, two dedicated parks for Covid martyrs are open to public in Hyderabad.

EXPANDING THE INITIATIVE

Mr. Charan further said that after starting this initiative, they started looking for more people to join it and offer expert advice to help it grow. “So, we invited MP Santosh Kumar because he is working for Haritha Haram, a state government flagship programme to rejuvenate degraded forests, and asked him to launch the programme. Then, we started involving GHMC officials because we needed a dedicated area. After that we needed guidance on plantation, so we requested IFS officers to help us.”

He also said after taking over, they completely transformed the parks. After cleaning up, plantation drive was started, walking tracks were built, and benches were installed so that people could go and sit for some time and refresh themselves.

He concluded with a message that this initiative should become a pan-India one. He cites two reasons for this thought. First, it is for Covid martyrs, so families can go to the park and spend some time with their memories of their loved ones.  Second, it will be helpful for nature as the trees will reduce pollution and increase oxygen.


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