New Delhi [India], March 30 (ANI/Mediawire): The message to be carried was to "plant more trees". Mahindra sent no less than two dozen of its ScorpioN SUVs to the four corners of the country to go further and action the message.
The task was daunting. More than 17,000km had to be covered in three weeks by a bunch of auto enthusiasts as they drove home the message for a greener and cleaner tomorrow. Given the varied terrain that we were to encounter, it only was apt that our vehicle of choice was something that fitted the tall order - Mahindra's latest SUV, the tough ScorpioN.
Rajesh Jejurikar (Executive Director - Auto & Farm Sector, Mahindra Group) flagged off this unique 'Green Drive Project' from the company's headquarters in Mumbai. A total of 24 ScorpioN SUVs divided into groups of six each left for the four corners with a mission to plant more than 50,000 saplings enroute. The four corners were Siachen Base Camp, Ladhakh (North leg), Dong, Arunachal Pradesh (East leg), Lakhpat, Gujarat (East leg) and Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu (South).
With driver fatigue taken care of, the task at hand became easier. The first stop was Mahindra's other home ground Nasik. The stopover was one of its biggest dealerships. Along this drive, tree plantation was to be the norm and dealer principals had agreed to join hands on this initiative. A ceremonial welcome followed by planting of saplings thus became the norm enroute.
After brief stopovers at Jitendra Motors and Bhavin Wheels at Nasik, we left for Dhule the same day. The festivities had delayed the convoy but the ScorpioNs and us drivers were confident of covering the distances even with nightfall and the sporadic rains. Once again, the robustness of our SUVs prodded us to keep going.
While Indian monsoons can add a bit of unpredictability to the road, it also shows one of the prettiest sides of our country. The fast highway from Dhule to Indore on the second day was a joy sitting in the ScorpioN as we snaked between cars and slow-moving trucks. The ScorpioN turning heads wherever it went. The convoy was met with a rousing welcome at Indore, one of the cleanest cities of India courtesy the local Mahindra dealer - Bhagwati Elite Motors. But before the celebratory run through the city saplings were planted.
From Indore, the convoy headed towards the lake city of Bhopal. Most of this stretch was driven after sunset. It was a challenging highway. While the surface was good, our braking responses were regularly tested due to one of India's perennial old highway problems -stray cattle. The unique city of Bhopal was buzzing with activity when we reached so the convoy run happened early next morning to get allow us to explore the city without inconveniencing the regular commuters.
The trees planted at dealerships were just a part of the actual target. Joining the Green Drive Project was the Uttarakhand-based NGO - SankalpTaru Foundation - who would also plant saplings throughout India to help reach the target. This went through nine states and almost 24 cities. It now looks like the entire Green Drive Project will end up with almost 70,000 saplings planted around India. That is 20,000 more than the initial estimate.
After Bhopal, the saplings were planted in multiple places, namely Sagar, Kanpur, Lucknow, Agra, Jaipur, Gurugram, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Ambala, Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jammu, Srinagar, Kargil, Leh and Sumur in Nubra Valley where the final saplings were planted at its Eco Park in the presence of Tsering Angchuk, Deputy Chairman and representative of the Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh. The drive continued further though to the Siachen Base Camp and we ended up covering nearly 5000km.
The ScorpioN train on the Green Drive Project thus encountered everything from bustling urban cities and fast flowing highways to narrow mountains roads and even no roads. One of the advantages of taking this SUV is that it doesn't get overwhelmed with any kind of terrain it encounters. With proper off-road capability even in 2WD versions, the ScorpioN made the long journey less arduous. It cushioned us from the vagaries of the road and the weather throughout and in the process helped us walk the talk of planting more trees for a greener and cleaner tomorrow.
DRIVE IN NUMBERS
Green Drive Project
Total saplings planted: 75,000
Distance Covered: 17000km
North Leg: 5,000km
Mumbai - Nasik - Dhule
Dhule - Indore - Bhopal
Bhopal - Sagar - Kanpur
Kanpur - Lucknow - Agra
Agra- Jaipur - Gurugram
Gurugram - Delhi - Ghaziabad
Ghaziabad - Ambala - Panchkula
Panchkula - Mohali - Chandigarh -Ludhiana
Ludhiana - Jalandhar - Amritsar - Jammu
Srinagar - Kargil
Kargil - Leh
Leh - Sumur (Nubra Valley)
Sumur - Siachen Base Camp
This story has been provided by Mediawire. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/Mediawire)