Chandigarh: Followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect Saturday marked the Independence Day by planting a staggering 68 lakh trees in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and the union territory of Chandigarh.
“Followers of Dera Sacha Sauda have planted nearly 68 lakh plants of different species on a single day. This is our gesture to celebrate the Independence Day,” sect spokesperson Pawan Kumar told IANS.
“The response is so overwhelming as thousands of sect followers thronged out of their homes to participate in this drive. Seeing their enthusiasm, we have decided to make it an annual event, to plant at least 50 lakh trees every year on Aug 15.”
According to sect leaders, over 24 lakh sapplings were planted in Punjab, over 32 lakh in Haryana, 400,000 in Rajasthan, 500,000 in Uttar Pradesh and 200,000 in Delhi Saturday.
Over 100,000 trees were planted at remote villages from where the data was being received, the sect official said.
Abhishek Verma, a young sect follower, planted over 200 trees in Mohali town of Punjab.
“I am feeling very satisfied and happy, as I have planted over 200 plants today. I hope that other communities will also follow similar footsteps in future,” Verma told IANS.
The sect is led by controversial chief Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim, who is accused of the rape and murder of a ‘sadhvi’ (female follower).
The sect, which has thousands of followers in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, is headquartered at Sirsa town in Haryana, some 280 km from here.