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  who's who >> Punam Singhvi


The volunteers of Hariyali, an NGO working on environmental issues, have spent the last two Sundays in the Yeoor forest, looking for seeds that can be replanted in barren land. The Thane-based NGO is now in the eighth year of this unique afforestation programme.

“A hand that sows the seed will never cut a tree and, thus, we increase awareness and involvement indirectly,” says Punam Singhvi, the president of Hariyali, adding, “One can spend lakhs of rupees buying and sowing seeds but it’s not the same.”

He says the idea behind the programme is to give back to nature what comes from it.

The first stage of the programme, which is the seed collection drive, began on April 25. The Hariyali volunteers and students will work on this project till May 23.

“All field activities are based on Shramadan. Around 5,000 to 10,000 seeds are found on collection and are sown again as saplings or even directly,” says Singhvi.

Explaining the process, he says, “We go to Yeoor forest area and collect seeds of assorted species of trees like jamun, mango, teak and neem.

"After collecting them, we put them on seedbeds for germination and create saplings. We then sow these saplings in barren lands. Sometimes we directly sow the seeds.”

The NGO has been successful in planting the saplings in 50-60 per cent of the cases. “The results from planting the sapling are better than the results from sowing the seeds,” says Singhvi.

He says the only flip side to the process is that the NGO and volunteers cannot monitor the growth of the saplings. The organisation’s survey shows that the survival rate of the plants is about 15 per cent.

Now the 300-odd members of Hariyali, along with volunteers, are gearing up for the next phase of the programme, which is sowing of the seeds. “It feels nice that we are doing our bit in conserving the environment and increasing awareness,” says Singhvi.

Contact Mr Punam Singhvi at 25474119/ 33991890. Visit the organisation on

Future projects

• Compilation of digital manual of flora and fauna of the region
of activity and putting the same on the Web.

• Conversion of the barren hills in the region of activity into an ‘Adarshavan’ (an ideal forest), with the help and involvement of the concerned authorities.

• Promoting a movement for safeguarding the existing lakes in the city of Thane and developing new ones at appropriate places.

• Development of all abandoned quarries in the region into water bodies.

• Development of the Organisation into a leading research institute and executing body in the field of environmental sciences.

• Major afforestation activities