A 70-year-old, who was once mocked as “a mentally unstable man”, has suddenly become a celebrity in his village after he was chosen for Padma Shri award this year. Daripalli Ramaiah has planted 10 million saplings in his village Reddipalle, Telangana.
Ramaiah has no record of the saplings he planted, but he says that the number would have crossed 10 million. He has planted trees for every third citizen of the state.
He says,”Planting trees is not just a hobby but a passion for me. Wherever I find a barren land in my area, I plant a tree. The objective is to see that every sapling that I plant survives. If any plant wilts and dies, I feel as if I have lost my life,” as reported by Hindustan Times.
Ramaiah’s wife recalls the old days and says,”Locals used to make fun of him for carrying plants saplings on his bicycles. He used to pedal several kilometres to a barren land where he would plant trees and seeds. He was positive that the area would turn green some day.”
Ramaiah lives in a small two-bedroom house in the village. His house is like a mini museum with placards, billboards and flex banners containing slogans on the importance of tree plantation. Whenever he travels, he puts a board around his neck like a scarf with the slogan: “Vriksho Rakshati Rakshitaha” (Save trees, it will save you).
He says,”I don’t know whether God is pleased with breaking a coconut and offering to him, but I am sure He will be immensely happy if we plant a tree.”
The couple has made it a habit of gifting saplings in a marriage, or a birthday or a wedding anniversary.
Ramaiah has sold off their three-acre land to mobilise money for buying saplings and seeds. He couldn’t continue his studies after class 10, but he is still an avid reader. He preserves the clipping of any article he reads on trees and tree-plantation. He also posts them on boards that adorn the wall of his residence.
Ramaiah has also been conferred with an honorary doctorate by the Academy of Universal Global Peace. He has also been honoured with several various state and national awards.
On the second Telangana Formation Day celebrations on June 2, 2016, the state government rewarded him a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.
He says that his responsibility has increased with the Padma Shri. He will continue the campaign till his last breath and would like to inspire at least one crore people so that each one of them plants one sapling each.
The Logical Indian congratulates Daripalli Ramaiah on his Padma award and hope that more people are inspired to plant trees and make their neighbourhood, town, city, and ultimately the country, green again.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.