Former international cricketers Brad Hogg and Abhishek Nayar have hailed Balkrishna Industries Limited (BKT) tires’ unique activity that blends cricketing skill with mother nature during the ongoing 4th Sankar Cement Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League (TNPL).
On behalf of every batsman hitting the giant BKT Tire, situated a few metres away from the boundary between mid-wicket and long-on, the associate sponsors of the league will plant 500 saplings. This venture is in association with Isha Foundation, an NGO associated with Sadhguru.
Joint Managing Director of BKT Tires, Rajiv Poddar is hoping to plant 50,000 plants through the TNPL initiative. “We have tied up with Isha Foundation, which is an NGO associated with Sadhguru. With every hit where the ball touches the tire that is placed in the ground, we will be planting 500 saplings. We are expecting to plant around 50,000 saplings in Tamil Nadu through TNPL,” he said.
“I think it is fantastic,” remarked Hogg, who believes such initiatives will make the world greener and a better place to live. “I think the world is going to get greener. We’ve got to make sure we grow our cities but we still don’t lose those greenery around us,” added the former Australian chinaman bowler who is also a TV commentator in the TNPL.
Fellow commentator and former India all-rounder Nayar feels BKT’s activity is just a reminder about protecting nature. “Going green as an initiative by BKT Tires is outstanding. I keep meeting a lot of international cricketers taking up causes and trying to make a difference in their own ways. I think it’s great that it is coming from a tournament like this where everyone in India and worldwide can have a look at it and understand the importance of having trees and respecting nature,” he added.
Poddar feels the association with TNPL and the unique activity was an extension of the company’s concern for the environment. “We as a company are very conscious about our environment. Not just recently but for the past ten years. Since 2004, nearly 50% of our electricity requirements for both our two plants in North India are produced by windmills. . We’ve been recognised by National awards for Energy Conservation and Sustainability from the President of India. We’ve got it for a couple of years and again we’re surrogating that. We’ve invested a lot in environment. We’ve planted over 1,00,000 trees. We are very conscious about our footprint,” he said.
“BKT Tires already has a presence in sports across the globe through associating with Monster Jam in the USA, Serie BKT for football in Italy, COupe de la Ligue for football in France & Big Bash League (BBL) for cricket in Australia. In India, BKT has sponsored multiple Pro Kabaddi League teams and has also involved in supporting grassroots kabaddi through Bharat Super League (BSL) which was held in 4 states in India including Tamil Nadu across 8 key districts of Erode, Coimbatore, Krishnagiri, Vellore, Kumbakonam, Tirupur, Dindigul and Gudiyatham. But it is for the first time that BKT Tires has been associated with such a unique environmental activity through sports through sports sponsorship,” revelas Poddar
“This is the first time we have an environmental initiative with a sports tournament. This is also new for us and we are happy that it is going better than what we expected, especially the visibility on the TV and reaching the crowd. More importantly, we are excited to support the regional teams,” he added.
Poddar sees a similarity in the objectives of TNPL and BKT tires, who are the leading manufacturer of off-highway tires in the country, as both are trying to promote local talent. “TNPL is trying to bring the regional quality players and give them a platform to show their talent and a lot of players reach the next stage of their career.
Similarly, BKT is a home grown company that is based in India. We are using the local talent and capturing the world. We are creating a platform for India, internationally. Today we are a company that is 85% export oriented. We have a market share in 160 countries as our export destination. So, TNPL provides a platform for players from interior parts of Tamil Nadu. That is what we are doing,” he said.
“I think such initiatives help in sustaining the environment. The stadiums have been developed by Tamil Nadu Cricket Association which are for the local people to use. From that aspect, it gives the local people a good facility to practice and develop. Also, in this way, greenery is being created. Even the trees around the stadiums add to the value from the environmental aspect,” he added.
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association joint secretary RI Palani concedes BKT’s initiative has gone a long way in spreading awareness about conserving nature in the league. “BKT’s ground activity has become a talking point amongst the teams and everybody is keen to see the ball hit the giant BKT tire so that we can have a greener environment in future,” he said.
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