The 1st Bauhinia (Vapah in local dialect) Festival 2021, a community plantation event under the initiative of Koide Youth & Students Organization (KYSO) under the aegis of Koide Union was inaugurated by D. John Sha, MFS, Divisional Forest Officer, Senapati as the chief guest under strict observance of SOPs laid down by state government.
In his keynote address, Ng. Ngaorai, Program convenor stated that the program has a big significance with Covid-19. As the story of patients who recovered from Covid-19 were asked to go and plants trees went viral on social media realising the importance of planting trees, the event was organised under the initiative of KYSO when the world was struck with Covid-19 last year while many people from metro cities returned back home.
In spite of being down with depression during the lockdown last year, the Koide Youth & Students Organization (KYSO) came up with a proposal by converting the problem into a prospect by introducing a community plantation drive from Biisho to Purul. Unfortunately, more than 50% of the planted saplings could not survive with construction of new road under PMGSY. Early this year, the youth body thought of taking up massive community tree plantation where they could inspire the neighbouring villages with their initiative. Exclusive drinking water from the village pond was served to all visitors that is taken from the boundary between Oinam Hill village and Koide village. the refreshment is reportedly made under the initiative of Koide village women society with local made traditional bread which is delicacy among the Poumai community. The starter called as “Naga dal” is found in abundance at the village where a little festival through community initiative could bring lots economic development, Ngaorai stated.
Bauhinia variegata and Bauhinia purpurea, a multipurpose tree species has strong cultural ties with the tribal way of life and is glorified through folklores distinct to different tribes and villages in the district.
Understanding the importance of the tree species and its intimacy with its cultural heritage, the Koide Youth & Students Organization (KYSO) piloted to convert COVID-19 depression into community empowerment through afforestation of this indigenous tree species. The Bauhinia Festival is the first community tree plantation festival in the district aimed at infusing the spirit of ecological stewardship amongst the populace.
Speaking as the chief guest, D. John Sha, MFS, Divisional Forest Officer, Senapati stated that bauhinia is a very significant faunas because of its flower and also the vibrant of the tree. It exhibits lots of colours and gives lives with lots of significant in terms of its uses. It has medicinal properties as well as used as vegetables in some part of the country. The particular tree is available in the sub-continent as well as in the south East Asian countries where people are blessed to have this kind of trees in the region. While congratulating the Koide Youth & Students Organization (KYSO) and the Koide Union, the chief guest lauded the villagers for taking step to conserve and inculcate the importance of trees and in order to mitigate the climate change through the plantation program and for organising such festival so that everyone takes part in promoting the trees as well as conserving the forest and environment. In other parts of the countries have different festivals like cherry blossom festival which is celebrated in Meghalaya and also at Mao Gate in Manipur. The Forest officer asserted he appreciated such program as it would bring a change in the society so that everyone will have consciousness and will give more importance on conserving the beautiful trees and the beautiful creation given by the Almighty God. He urged that everyone should take part in such program in celebrating as well as planting, protecting and conserving that is available in the region.
Kh. Siile Anthony, Former Jt. Registrar, JNU in his speech stated that greediness among people had created a dim future for themselves. To have cut down all trees in the region, the weather at present has become so hot that one cannot go out on a sunny day, he mentioned. While urging all to plant more trees, Siile Anthony asked all to take a pledge not to cut down trees and to plant more trees for better future.
D. Dailord Pao, President, Poumai Naga Union (PNU) lauded the Koide youth to have taken an innovative idea serving great purpose for present and future. Such program could not only improve environmentally and economically but could also attract tourist when all tree saplings are full grown.
R.S. Solomon, President, Koide Union in his pledge mentioned that the union had earlier declared to make a green village in the past. In the name of the union, the President declared a cash prize of Rs. 10,000/- would be donated by the Tsiibe Foundation to the first Bauhinia (Vapah) start to bloom flowers from this day on. The union had decided to plant at least one Bauhinia tree and 2 fruit trees in the village.
The later program followed with planting of Bauhinia trees by all visiting officials with their names written by the side of the village football ground.