Mr K R Gurukar, retired government official, tree-lover and avid planter. He plants mainly on the roadside; mostly honge saplings he buys from the forest dept. nursery. He has been doing this daily for years ; has planted a thousand trees in Mysore since 2002, when settled here after retirement as training officer of the dept. of labour in Bangalore. He is a trained electrical engineer who had earlier been with Karnataka electricity board.
Every morning Mr Gurukar sets out on bicycle from his Saraswathipuram residence to scout for suitable vacant space where he can plant, to do earthwork for planting ; and to water the saplings he had planted. A handson person who waits for no one , Mr Gurukar represents a one-man army that plants saplings on Mysore roadside. We have an e-group to promote Friends of Roadside Trees , about which Mr Gurukar was unaware, like thousands of other tree-lovers in town. Mr Gurukar is not an online person; he doesn’t have an e-mail ID, not even a phone connection. We made the connection through Mr K N Srinivas of Mysore Santhey . Mr Gurukar is his ‘discovery’. Mr Srinivas has his own plans to plant fruit-bearing trees in Mysore’s home for the aged, orphanages, and other institutions.
Mr Gurukar was at work on the roadside near MUDA Circle on JLB Road when I met him. He carries with him the digging kit – shovel and things – and also a couple of plastic pots for watering the saplings. Mr Srinivas offered to find a sponsor who could equip Mr Gurukar with a tricycle that has a cargo hold.
Honge is Mr Gurukar’s favoured sapling for roadside planting because “cattle eat away other saplings”. He gets a honge sapling for Rs.20 that Mr Gurukar spends from his monthly pension of Rs.10,000. On an average it takes him two days to plant a sapling. Mr Gurukar often slogs it out on his own, without waiting for or seeking anyone’ help – ‘occasionally, I get one or two passers-by coming up to help’. Mr Gurukar can be an inspiration for neighbourhood green groups. Parents could encourage their children during vacation time to join Mr Gurukar in roadside tree-planting. Schools could invite him to address their students. His address: Mr K R Gurukar, C H 61, V Main Rd., III Cross, Saraswathipuram, Mysore 570009