by CEO West Bengal
He plants a friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high;
He plants a heaven to home anigh:
One who plants the tree is also an elector!
Plantation is a common activity in the parlance of development administration. Now it permeates the domain of Electoral Roll management, in Voter Education to be more particular. The cue was taken from the District Election Officer, Birbhum district which first implemented the programme in the State: Plantation for Greater Participation sometime in the month of July, 2017.
Conceptually, the activity is unique. It bears hitherto unexplored possibilities of unleashing social dimensions of what is basically an electoral event. Here, a prospective/ newly enrolled elector is conceived to be a sapling which will eventually grow into fruition. The programme as it was implemented in the State during the Summary Revision programme had two components: One, each future and newly enrolled elector was handed over a sapling by the Electoral Registration Officer or his Assistant ERO for plantation in his homestead residence as a token that the plant, in itself, would indicate the growth of his persona as an elector. Secondly plantation activity was taken up on a larger scale. Mass Social Plantation was carried out uniformly across the State on 9th September, 2017 when the entire election machinery went out to plant trees in Polling Stations, offices of the District Election Officers and Electoral Registration Officers and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers and other government premises including offices of the local self-governments.
A modest attempt in itself that goes one step forward in making our Polling Stations greener, the initiative also generates social assets. In most of the districts, the programme was taken in convergence with other state government departments such as the Forest, Horticulture, and Panchayat & Rural Development which chiefly provide the resources for the programme. Being economically cost-efficient, the programme is self-sustaining. Districts moreover took pains to guard the plants with fencing such that they survive. It bore some interesting slogans also underpinning the urge of electoral registration. On a single day, about 53,000 saplings were planted in Polling Stations while 48,000 prospective and newly electors were handed over saplings for plantation in their homes.
As a focus in coming days, ELCs-Schools are expected to come out largely in social plantation programme.
Edited by Padma Angmo