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Going Beyond the Call of Duty to Care for Mother Earth

Indian Masterminds’ special feature on Earth Day 2022. SP City, East Champaran (Motihari) district, Bihar, Kumar Ashishrequests people to thank him in a unique way. The 2012-batch IPS officer ask people he helped in his official capacity to plant three trees in their local police station.
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Today is Earth Day and the theme this year is ‘Invest in our Earth’. Social media is full of messages from people for the day, some stressing on the need to improve the environment.

But there are people who send messages through their work. They would rather walk the talk. Superintendent of police, East Champaran (Motihari) district, Bihar, Dr. Kumar Ashish, falls in this category. He has not confined his work to policing only but is going beyond the call of duty to work for the conservation of the environment. His thoughtful steps are adding up to bring a big change in the district by way of turning it green.

Indian Masterminds spoke to Dr. Kumar Ashish (PhD in French Language from JNU, New Delhi) to bring you the details about his ‘earth initiative’.

UNIQUE WAY OF THANKING

The 2012-batch IPS officer is getting trees planted in his district by applying a unique method. He convinces the common people to plant trees in police stations. More than 40 trees have been planted in many police stations of the district in just three months. And the number is continuously increasing.

How could he get the people to do it? Dr. Kumar Ashish asks the people who he has helped in any way to plant trees as a way of thanking him. He organises the Janta Darbar on a fixed date in various police stations of the district. He listens to the problems of the people and resolve them quickly. When the grateful people come up to him to thank him, he asks them to plant a tree in his presence and, also, take a pledge to protect that tree.

Dr. Ashish said, “After I came to Motihari in January,people started coming to me every day with their problems. From morning till evening, I keep meeting the complainants, some from far off places. I started wondering whether their problems were not getting solved at the thana level. So, I launched the ‘Thana Diwas, Police Aapke Dwar’, sending a message that we will personally go to their door and listen to their complaints in their local thana.”

According to the officer, this initiative brought many benefits. People saved money which used to be spent in reaching the headquarters and the police stations also came directly under his supervision.

PLANT 3 TREES

Soon, the officer incorporated his ‘Plant 3 Trees’ initiative into the Thana initiative to give the message of the need for environmental protection. “We plant three trees. The first tree is ‘Sadbhavna Tree’ for communal harmony in the district, in which people of all religions are involved. When they meet us on the occasion of Thana Diwas, we request them to come and plant trees in our presence. We tell them, this is your police station, your complaint will be resolved here, and you should protect and promote it by planting trees.”

The second tree is Jan-Samadhan Tree, signifying that their grievances were resolved here, and their police station will continue to solve their complaints with full responsibility at their doorsteps.

The third tree is related to drug de-addiction campaign. Since liquor is already banned in Bihar and campaigns have been running for drug de-addiction, the officer asks for a tree to be planted in the name of de-addiction.

“We plant these three trees with full cooperation of the citizens of the concerned police station. We also make them resolve that they will protect and promote the trees they planted. The officers of the police station will come and go, but the trees will always be there and will remind them of us.”

He also says that the trees will remind them to maintain harmony and goodwill.

FUTURE PLAN

The officer hopes to make this initiative bigger and better going forward. “On the occasion of Environment Day on 5 June, we will start a ‘Selfie with Tree’ campaign. People will plant saplings and post selfies with them. We will publicise those photos. We will also give a place to their posts on our Twitter handle. We are planning to plant 1500 trees on that day.”

EARTH DAY: HOW IT STARTED

Gaylord Nelson, a US Senator, started Earth Day as an environmental education programme in America in 1970. On April 22, 1970, about 20 million Americans participated in the first event of Earth Day. Since then, more than 195 countries have started celebrating this day as Earth Day on the issue of environment.

This year, the theme of Earth Day is ‘Invest in our Earth’. The tradition that was started in 1970 has been adopted by the world with open heart, and today, on Earth Day, people all over the world pledge to keep the earth green and give every kind of animal their share and right on earth.


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