'Their memories live here': First-of-its-kind Covid memorial park opens in Hyderabad

For many people who participated in the programme, it was a very emotional day. They wrote special messages for people they lost during the pandemic.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  24 July 2022 11:11 AM GMT
Their memories live here: First-of-its-kind Covid memorial park opens in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: "One of my relatives said she would come back in two days when she tested Covid-positive. But she never came back. We did not even get to see her one last time. In that sense, we did not get a proper closure," says Sri Uha, a resident of Hyderabad who took part in the tree planting programme at Haritham park, a park in honour of Covid-19 victims. The first-of-its-kind park in the country is situated at 45 Panchavati Colony, Road No. 10, Banjara Hills.

The green memorial was inaugurated on 24 July and was constructed under the Telangana government's Haritha Haram programme with the support of the forest department.




For many people who participated in the programme, it was a very emotional day. They wrote special messages for people they lost during the pandemic. Some read "Miss you Babai" and "In the memory of Nagamani Athama, Srinu Pedanana, Surendar Pedanna."

More than 100 people participated in Sunday's programme and around 50-60 saplings were planted. "This is the first phase of the programme. In phase 2, we plan to plant around 500-1,000 saplings and expand the programme to other districts of Telangana," said Charan, the mastermind behind the programme. Charan says he wishes to establish parks like Haritham across India.




The GHMC will help maintain the park.

"This is a very novel initiative to memorialise the people who were lost during the pandemic in the form of a tree that will last for around 50-60 years," says Natasha Ramaratnam who also took part in the tree planting programme. "Many people were emotional. One of them said, 'I am glad that the memory of my cousin sister will live here'," she adds.

Nellunta Kavitha, another participant, says, "It is not just a unique concept, but it is a mix of memories, emotions, bonds, and attachments we cherished with our relatives and friends. It also reminds us about the connection between nature and human beings, the importance of planting trees, protecting the environment, and setting priorities."




Native trees planted

Another thing unique about this initiative is that the plants chosen are all native ones. "Under the guidance of the forest department officials, all local saplings were chosen," says Charan.

Natasha, who planted a banyan, said neem, mahogany, ashoka, and jamun were some of the other trees planted. "Non-local trees do not increase the water table. It is also observed that they do not provide fruits to birds. We hope that with the banyans and the jamuns we planted today, birds and squirrels will visit and hang around this place," she adds.




Dr Shanta Thoutam is also one of the organisers of the programme. Rajya Sabha MP Santhosh Kumar, Khairatabad MLA Danam Nagendar, and UK Deputy High Commissioner to Telangana Andrew Fleming also took part in the programme.

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