Trichy: When Cyclone Gaja took a toll on more than half of the green cover in Bharathidasan University campus spread across 680 acres, associate professor K Suriyan was among the first few people who visited the university campus in the morning on November 16.
He noticed that about 600 trees out of total 1,400 odd trees had fallen due to the cyclone. Instead of lamenting over it, he swung into action to restore the green cover on the campus.
It has been a month now and most of the trees have started showing signs of life. About 400 trees have started regenerating and tender leaves have started sprouting.
Suriyan, who heads the centre for study of social exclusion and inclusive policy in BDU, knew that he can revive these trees. Apart from bringing earth movers to raise the trees, he roped in workers to chop tree branches that had fallen and ensured adequate humidity to its roots.
“Since soil in the university is rocky, we had to dig it out and put enough soil so that the roots get adequate water. Trees were raised with proper support to the trunk to prevent its fall until it could stand on its own,” said Suriyan. He was able to raise about 400 trees that include majority of mayflower, neem and teak trees in the campus.
“It would not have been possible to retain majority of trees if steps were not taken right from the day when trees fell,” vice-chancellor P Manisankar told.
He credited Suriyan, who was on the ground from day one to save these trees, for his selfless efforts.
“There are bright chances that the trees would survive especially those which were planted within a day or two after they fell,” said Osai Syed, coordinator of Osai, an environmental organisation.
The effort of the university and their staff should be lauded as the trees would not be saved if the work was delayed. Syed also stressed on planting native species. Most of the trees that fell during cyclone were exotic tree species. It has left behind a message to plant native species and the university must also take the message, he said.