SIVASAGAR, June 24 - The Forest Man of India, Jadav Payeng has called upon everyone not just to plant trees on Environment Day but also to take care of them till they can survive and grow. The internationally-acclaimed friend of the forest was addressing the students, teachers and guardians of Fuleswari Girls� HS School, Sivasagar, in an awareness meeting on �Legal Provisions for Protection of Forest and Wildlife� organised by the Sivasagar District Legal Aids Service Authority. The meeting began with a chorus sung by the students of Fuleswari Girls HS School.
Payeng narrated in details about his journey from remote dry sand dunes of the Brahmaputra, how he transformed an area of over 1360 acres near Kokilamukh, Jorhat into a lush green forest and his walk to the international forum. He said that in 1978-79, there was a flood in the area and when the flood dried up, a large number of snakes died on the coarse dry area sands. As a young man who had fallen in love with nature in his childhood, he asked the elders of the nearby Deorigaon as to what could be done for the snakes. It was the suggestion of the village elders to plant as many trees as possible to help not only snakes but all animals to survive. Payeng took the idea very seriously and began planting trees over the whole area and thus began his long march to fame.
He said that each school going child should be given a sapling to plant on birthdays and taught how to water it and take care of it and every school be asked to plant at least ten valuable trees in every reserve forest every year. Payeng criticised government policies of planting trees at odd hot and dry seasons as crores of rupees had been wasted to build Jorhat as a �Neem Nagar� and added that the time between spring and rainy season is best for tree plantation. Payeng said that it is disheartening to note that recognition for his humble effort came at last from distant authorities and institutions while there are many important institutions like the RRL, the Tocklai Tea Research Centre, AAU and the district administration in Jorhat itself.
Inaugurating the meeting, Biprojit Roy, CJM, Sivasagar, said that awareness comes first and then come matters related to legal provisions about everything. Referring to environment, he said that it takes time for a tree to grow and hence there should be adequate provisions for supporting wildlife to survive and enrich the environment. Advocate Prasanna Dutta, coordinator for the DLAC, spoke on the activities of the Legal Aid Authority. The meeting was attended among others by Dr R Ghain, advocate Diganta Mangal Neog, Bijoy Borgohain, Dilip Deka, DFO, Social Forestry, Ranjit Saikia, Dr Dipti Monta Boruah and Dipanlolee Mahanta, Principal, Fuleswari Girls� HS.