Udupi: The ‘Neralu Neravu’ campaign under the leadership of Avinash Kamath and his team, collected money from the public to help 105-year-old environmentalist Saalumarada Thimmakka. The amount was handed over to Thimmakka on Monday, October 19 at the Press Club.
Umesh, Thimmakka’s adopted son, regrets that the government has not helped in any way to secure her life. All that the world-famous woman gets from the government is Rs 500 as old-age pension. She is now living in a rented house. Though the government had announced the ‘Neralu bhagya’ scheme considering the contributions of Thimmakka, it has not yet provided her any comfort for her tremendous contributions to the environment. Thimmakka has planted close to 800 trees in Kadur Village in Hulligal, and each tree is worth a huge amount today. She always dreamt of a maternity hospital in her village, which has remained a dream till date. She has not received any kind of help from the government, Umesh rued.
Narrating her experience, Thimmakka said that she was born in a poor family. Even after her marriage, she and her husband worked as labourers in fields. “We did not have children and my husband Chikkaiah decided to plant trees along the Magadi road. We nurtured plants like our children. My husband’s health was poor and he fell sick often. He died after prolonged illness. I continued to work as a labourer. I started loving trees and planting saplings all along the road. Part of my earnings was spent on watering plants. But the Government did not offer any help till date. Planting saplings helps increase the green cover and benefit mankind in the long run,” she remarked.
Prior to this, Avinash Kamath welcomed Thimmakka to Udupi and explained the cause of ‘Neralu Neravu’. He said that the people of Udupi supported this good cause whole heartedly. “From a common ice candy seller to established businessmen, all joined hands in our Neralu Neravu campaign. We have collected a total of Rs 2,11,150 (33,000 directly deposited to her account),” he said. Later, Avinash Kamath handed over the cheque of Rs 1,78,150 to Saalumarada Thimmakka.
Gururaj Sanil, Shrikanth Shetty Ravindra Deshmukh and others were present at the press meet.