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‘Buta parshad’ takes root at Golden Temple 

Amritsar: Devotees visiting the Golden Temple have welcomed the “buta parshad” initiative launched by the Nanhi Chhaan Foundation.Saplings of various varieties of trees are distributed among the visitors at the shrine.The brainchild of Chairman Emiritus, Fortis Healthcare, Harpal Singh, the project is aimed at increasing the green cover and raising awareness about protecting the girl child.It was launched from the Golden Temple on August 27, 2008, and nurtured by one of the foundation’s patrons and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.As per the original concept, the saplings, supposed to be planted back home, are distributed in the name of the newborn daughter or newlywed daughter-in-law of the family.The idea was further widened and the “buta parshad” was offered to anyone approaching the dedicated counter located on one side of the entrance plaza of the shrine.As a follow-up plan, Nanhi Chhaan also noted down the addresses of those getting the saplings and made it a point to make a random check to track the growth of the plant as well as the girl child.Kanwaljit Kaur, incharge of the Golden Temple counter, said normally 300-350 plants were distributed daily, but on special occasions like Gurpurbs, Masya, and Sangrandh, it escalated to 500-550 daily. “We have a capacity to store over 1,000-1,200 saplings here,” she said.Rajesh Gulati, District Forest Officer, said saplings of different varieties of plants, including guava, mango, sukhchain, rose, kaner, jamun and neem, were prepared in the department’s nurseries. “We have entered into contract with the SGPC on annual basis. The SGPC gives us Rs 3.5 per plant. The rest of the expenses are looked after by us. Our teams visit the ‘buta parshad’ counters on regular basis to see the requirement,” he said.Since 2008, the saplings have been prepared at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda, from where Harsimrat was elected MP in 2009. Other gurdwaras at Anandpur Sahib, Damdama Sahib and Fatehgarh Sahib are also involved in distributing “buta parshad” and their nurseries, too, are being looked after by the Forest Department.Harpal Singh further connected the idea with faith, which finds mention in Gurbani. The Nanhi Chhaan Foundation has now covered 20 states for promoting the cause of the nation’s social agenda focusing on women empowerment, environment and inter-faith harmony.“We have put in efforts to rejuvenate the ‘galliara’ of the Golden Temple. The lush green lawns, trees and a promenade across the entire stretch not only add to the beauty of the surrounding but offer an ideal place for pilgrims to savour the charm of splendid architecture of the shrine and a place for a morning and evening walk for the local residents,” he said.

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