Staff member

New Delhi August 8:
To save environment and raise awareness against female foeticide industrialist and philanthropist, Harpal Singh, plans to distribute saplings and carry water from the sarovar to all the villages in Punjab from the premises of Sri Harmandar Sahib ji in Amritsar from August 27.
Brainchild of the chairman of Ranbaxy Laboratories, who has been a social worker, saplings will be offered to people visiting the gurdwara from galiara as “Buta Prasad” to be taken home by daughters and daughters-in-law so that people realise the importance of saving the girl child and at the same time contribute to improve environment, explained Singh here today.
“We request people to come to the gurdwara and take a sapling home within 12 months of the birth of a girl child or when a daughter-in-law joins the family,” said Harpal Singh. The initiative will be twice a year in February and in the monsoon season. Like all other journeys that start from holy places, this initiative also took off from the premises of the Golden Temple. The idea started taking shape from galiara almost 10 months ago.
“I decided to take a stroll in galiara around the gurdwara. I was appalled to see the state of such a significant place. We spoke to the deputy commissioner, who was very helpful and took the responsibility of maintaining the area,” said Harpal Singh. It took a lot of work but after the transformation, the shopkeepers around galiara wanted to thank him for providing them with a pleasant view. “However, I was thinking of utilising the space for broader social purposes,” he said.
He thought of associating the critical issue of saving the environment with an issue he was brooding over since three years. “Both mother and trees nurture the families and planet without asking for anything in return. They are embodiment of seva. We must protect them,” said Harpal Singh.
The initiative becomes even more important considering the decreasing sex ratio in some north Indian states. “We can not ignore the repercussions of it. There would be chaos in society. Crime against women would increase manifolds,” he said. The initiative will involve religious and political leaders of the state. Appreciating the response from all sections, Harpal Singh said religious leaders would be requested to invoke participation of people.
“Harsimrat Kaur, wife of Sukhbir Singh Badal, has extended support for the initiative. We are going to ask for permission from the religious leaders at the gurdwara if we could take some water from the sarovar and sprinkle it on the saplings,” he said.
This endeavour aims at engaging with society on emotional level. “Women would be associated and respected along with the plants as they would grow in their houses,” he said. Harpal Singh spends more than 70 per cent of his time on fulfilling his social commitments.