It was CNBC’s program on investment opportunities, and there was this discussion on the next potential big city. When I heard Coimbatore be a potential, I was happy. But this feeling was transitory as I have already started to witness the effects of this so-called big thing happening in my city. I am sure the original people of Gurgaon will not be happy to see what growth had done to their city. Despite Gurgaon people witnessing enormous growth in their real estate values, they also observe a higher cost of living, massive traffic congestion, dangerous pollution, ever-increasing crowd and almost extinct greenery.
The so-called growth of a city in Indian terms it means getting it devoid of its natural resources. The recent road broadening, infrastructure development in Coimbatore had witnessed a loss of thousands of trees. For me seeing the growth of something is like witnessing the decline of another. One classic example I want to relate here is the case of Hyderabad. If you ask any original Hyderabadi what changes Hyderabad had witnessed over the past decade. Then the first answer one would receive is the disappearance of Green. Hyderabad like Mumbai or any other metro is getting dense with population and cement. So, the next big option for it is to expand to accommodate the ever-increasing growth. Now, this expansion means going greenless in the new areas of penetration. I don’t understand why the government does not take a serious note of all the resources it kills in the name of roads. Being the government, it becomes their responsibility to replant them.
A few weeks back, I had a trip towards Pollachi. For those who don’t know where it is, all I want to say is Pollachi is the picturesque place where a lot of shooting takes place, like that of Billu Barber. It is a fertile land with a green landscape all around. But this time when I visited it, many of these farms were fenced and plotted for sale. It has become a trend nowadays for the rich to own big pieces of land and hold them as property. These rich invest vast amounts of money to own acres of land, preferably cultivable only to construct compound or fence around them and allow the weeds to grow.
Considering land as an asset by people is a significant liability to the Government. It is a crime, in my opinion. The present real estate boom has invoked curiosity among greedy farmers to sell their land and opt for lazy and comfortable living. India has sufficient rich people to get all the cultivable land go waste. The Government itself has so much land in its control, which remains waste. Why not utilize them? Land like that of money has an opportunity cost associated with it. Why not this be leased for agriculture? Having said that I also believe that there should be a rule which should say how much of cultivable land one can possess without irritating it. And if one buys beyond the prescribed limit, he has to utilize the land for cultivation. This way we can make sure the new landlord reaps the benefit of owning the land and Government also benefits from it.
What about the farmers? When we were building our house a few years ago, we witnessed immigrant workers coming from down south TamilNadu to work. They wanted to make the most out of the non-productive time they have when they don’t cultivate their farms. This was a good ploy that time but today, the massive shortage of workforce due to the relentless growth the city is witnessing, these so-called seasonal employees have become full-time employees owing to the lucrative pay they can bargain. Now, as far as their farms are concerned, they are turning into plots ready to be sold for a suitable price.
This is the case in most of tier 2 and tier 3 cities that are coming up rapidly. Today if somebody wants to cultivate the land, there is a severe shortage of human resources. And for a situation like this, it is always the technology that can come for the rescue. Like I always believe it is the technology that separates a developed nation from the rest.
Ways to go Green
Now forget the agriculture, for the time being, let’s see what an individual can do to promote Green in his way. I do have some suggestions here.
How about gifting people a plant on their birthday?
Planting a tree on birthdays must become our culture.
Let’s try to grow vegetables for our own needs.
Encourage new ways of growing plants like aquaponics, hydroponics, Aeroponics, vertical farming, Aero farms etc.
To appreciate green, we should stop thinking plant as a utility and grow them for the sheer pleasure of it. We should try alternatives for the wood. Ex: substitutes of wood for pencils, furniture, matchsticks, paper etc. I came across a way of making paper using elephants’ poop. One idea I had suggested had a two-headed matchstick. I think it’s too late even for that. Better some other combustible base.
Rather than thinking of eliminating the use of wood, the better way of thinking would find the alternate use of plastics and other wastes. Like ash and plastics for making bricks, plastics in furniture and garbage as energy. Our world has terrific people who are aspiring to protect the world with their inventions. We must start buying their ideas and their products. Supporting them must be our paramount responsibility as the conventional business setups can easily crush them. Finally It is time to honour people who encourage green like Wangari Muta Maathai It is time to innovate ways of getting greener. It is time for corporate to go much greener and not just for carbon credit incentives. It is time the Government takes responsibility for every tree it cuts. It is time we get greener inside to colour it outside. For all who think we still have time, I should say “We have not inherited our present from our ancestors, but we have grabbed it from our children” – So let’s get responsible.