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26/11 heroes will be evergreen

As the outpouring of grief at the death of 14 policemen and two NSG commandos killed during the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai continues,the Tree Authority in the city has hit upon a novel idea to pay homage to the martyrs.

Written by Nitya Kaushik | Mumbai |
January 11, 2009 12:15:34 am

Tree Authority plans to plant rare trees as ‘green memorials’ for 14 policemen and two NSG commandos killed while flushing out terrorists

As the outpouring of grief at the death of 14 policemen and two NSG commandos killed during the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai continues,the Tree Authority in the city has hit upon a novel idea to pay homage to the martyrs. It plans a unique monument by planting seven rare trees as “green memorials” to remember the 16 heroes.

According to Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Gardens) V B Pawar,the department has recently passed a proposal to plant trees at different spots,each of which will bear the names of the martyred officer,along with the name and description of the rare species.

“The idea is to have an eco-friendly memorial instead of the marble or granite ones that are usually built for heroes. A tree each will represent police officers Hemant  Karkare,Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar,one for assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Omble,one for all the other 10 policemen put together,and two more for NSG commandos Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and Gajendra Singh. We plan to choose long trees that will last over 100 years,” said Dr Nilesh Baxi,a nominated member of the Tree Authority.

The species of the trees would be chosen by Tree Authority member and horticulturist UN Singh according to the region where it has to be planted,its life span and its adaptability to the city’s atmosphere.

“Presently,we are identifying the right locations to plant these trees. Shortly after the spots are finalised,the saplings would be chosen and plantation will begin,” Pawar said.

Members said they are looking at the Gateway of India garden,the meridian opposite Oberoi Hotel and Girgaum Chowpatty for the plantations. “We will erect a plaque beside the ‘green memorials’,which will have information on the martyr it represents. The plaque can also have details about the tree species,” a member said.

Baxi said these memorials would not just help add to the city’s green cover but also be inexpensive and easy to maintain. “Marble or granite is very expensive and hard to maintain. Most stone memorials in the city are covered with bird poop which has to be cleaned up regularly,” he said.

“These memorials will cost just a negligible amount,and maintenance will be simple. Besides,we can regularly share tips with the horticulturist in our tree authority,” Pawar added.

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