September 10, 2021 4:00:11 pm
In a recent decision, the University of Delhi has announced that from the 2021-22 session it will be compulsory for every DU student to plant at least one tree anywhere in the country during the course of their study.
“This will be applicable at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and MPhil/PhD level. The programme will be scientifically monitored and evaluated by the respective colleges, centres, and departments of the university,” DU registrar Vikas Gupta said in a statement.
Vice-Chancellor Prof PC Joshi said that every year Delhi University admits lakhs of students from different parts of the country and they will be “our climate warriors”. The idea of including tree plantation as part of the curriculum was instituted by Botanist Professor Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director of the Centre for Himalayan Studies.
Talking to indianexpress.com, Prof Sahoo said, “The concept of planting trees was introduced so as to protect the environment and make the young generation sensitive about their surrounding nature. The world is witnessing drastic climatic changes and India is not untouched. It is the youth who has to step up and save the environment one step at a time,”
Sharing the details of the implementation of the programme, Prof Sahoo said a student has to plant at least one native tree species during their course of study at the university. The student has to submit GPS coordinates/ site location along with the picture of the plant to the respective college/ department/ centre. The picture should have a placard mentioning details such as the name of the tree, name and course of the student, location and date of the plantation.
The student is also expected to look after the tree or can involve family members in the care if it is planted at the student’s native place. A six-month progress report of the tree including a picture needs to be submitted to the college.
“The aim is to make the students aware and relative to nature. Students should see this as an opportunity to improve the environment and look after their sapling responsibly,” Sahoo said.
Sahoo has also approached other central and state universities to take up tree plantation in their curriculum. Currently, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University honoured his idea and has followed in DU’s footstep in introducing tree plantation as part of their curriculum.
Poonam Verma, Principal, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, DU said the inclusion of tree plantation in the new curriculum is a welcome move. “We are prepared to nurture the upcoming students to actively take up this opportunity to give back to the environment. It may come up as an added responsibility for the college/department authorities to maintain records of the students but we are ready to stretch and do our bit,” she said.
The college is also encouraging the existing students enrolled in various courses at the college to plant trees and act responsibly towards nature.
Shikha Sharma, a Zoology (Hons) student at Delhi University, said the move will help improve a student’s sensitivity towards the environment. “It will also improve the flora and fauna of the surrounding environment. Many species of sparrows, especially house sparrows, have disappeared in the last decade. One of the many reasons being the cutting of trees and urbanisation. This will also help in saving the native species.” she said.
Apart from this, Delhi University has also launched the Centre for Himalayan studies this year. The centre will act as a think tank to address the problems of Himalayan states and help them through research, policy-making and advocacy. The centre is also planning to launch a live Himalayan museum at the university to create awareness among students about the Northeastern states of the country.