The next time you commit a traffic offence in Mahbubnagar in Telangana, get ready to do your bit to save the environment.The Mahbubnagar District Police has come up with a unique initiative under which every traffic violator will now have to plant a sapling in addition to being punished under law.

Under the initiative which has the tag line 'Return Evil With Good', traffic violators who are caught are made to plant saplings after they pay the fine and face the punishment under law. The campaign is a part of the Telangana government's 'Telangana Ku Haritha Haaram’ programme which aims to increase the present tree cover in the state from 24 percent to 33 percent.

"The unfortunate death of a 10-year-old girl in Hyderabad earlier this month after being hit by a car which was driven by a student under the influence of alcohol shook the conscience of the society. We thus decided to strictly enforce the state's comprehensive plan for road safety," Rema Rajeshwari, Mahbubnagar's superintendent of police who came up with this idea, told ScoopWhoop News.

The plantation campaign in full swing

So far 400 traffic violators have planted saplings in 76 parts of the district since the campaign began about a month ago.

According to the government statistics, Mahbubnagar is one of the worst affected districts by road accidents and fatalities in the state. Around 35 percent of road accident deaths in the district were due to drunken driving.

A photo of the plantation campaign

"The violators are told to plant a sapling at a designated spot. To ensure that it is being carried out, a nodal officer has been appointed from every police station who looks after it by visiting the location," Rajeshwari added.

The police hopes to plant 10 lakhs saplings in all police stations, residential quarters, training facilities, office buildings and District Police Office complexes.

Apart from the traffic violators, they have also roped in repeat offenders to participate in the campaign.

Youngsters and their parents at the counselling session

"Basically, it serves two purposes. One, it addresses their re-integration in society and the other is that we can keep a track of their activities," she said.

According to Rajeshwari, so far 2,756 people have been involved in a campaign she claims is 'reformative planting'.

Rajeshwari said that the police department has also started conducting counselling sessions for youngsters as well as their parents on road safety and traffic rules.

She said that the response till now has been overwhelming.

"I was surprised when I saw the positive feedback from the public for the campaign. We will definitely continue with it in the days to come," she said.

(All images sourced from Mahbubnagar District Police)