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Environmentalists rendering yeoman service in Sonitpur dist

By Shambhu Boro

TEZPUR, June 17 - At a time when environmental degradation issues including deforestation, climate change, wildlife poaching, illegal mining of natural resources etc., have been a major concern in the region, environmentalist and wildlife lovers like Kumud Baruah, Saurav Barkataki, Arup Kalita, Dibyajyoti Nath, Nibir Chowdhury, Bhaskar Patangia, Diganta Nath, Rajnish Saikia, Pranjal Pratim Bora, Rajkumar Prasad and Utpal Bhuyan, are in a selfless mission in life to protect nature and wildlife in Sonitpur district and have won hearts of the people through their yeoman services.

Among these, Kumud Baruah who had started a mission of to make Sonitpur a green and clean district (then it was undivided Sonitpur) in 2013, a couple years back had planted over 2,000 saplings of different species of trees in and around the historic town, which provide a magnificent view today. The orderly rows of the shade trees stretched as far as the eye could see on the main road of the town are a major attraction for the people who visit the beautiful town.

Baruah, a true lover of biodiversity and flora and fauna, has set a unique example in selfless service, by spending most of his time and even his personal earnings in providing a green look to Biswanath and Tezpur towns. Sharing his views on environmental issues, he said that the department concerned must be sensitive enough in maintaining an ecologically balanced world. �Simply observing a day in the name of world environment day is not enough, we will have to be more sensitive and responsive towards environmental issues.� He added that he has till date planted over 10 lakh tree saplings and personally takes care of them spending his own earnings.

Saurav Barkataki who has dedicated his life in saving nature and wildlife has become a real hero among the nature and wildlife lovers across the country for his selfless zeal. Barkataki has till date rescued hundreds of endangered wildlife including birds and snakes. Barkataki, also an honorary wildlife warden for Sonitpur Forest department told this correspondent that due to insufficient manpower in Sonitpur, Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Nagaon, Biswanath and Hojai districts under the Northern Range, rapid forest degradation is going on. �Taking advantage of the Forest department�s inadequate staff position, timber smugglers are denuding forest areas in Chardwar, Balipara, Nameri and Sonai-Rupai Reserve forests also,� he said. Only 45 per cent work force is working in this belt, due to which it becomes difficult to cover many areas. �I feel the government should give priority to these sensitive issues, otherwise in the days to come we will face major challenges in maintaining our biodiversity�.

Socially aware media persons like Arup Kalita and Dibyajyoti Nath who have dedicated most of their time to these issues, have also been able to get love and respect from the people for their contributions. Arup Kalita who has written a series of children stories on elephants, stressed on the government�s sincerity in mitigating the man-elephant conflict.

Along with Rajnish Saikia of Balipara, who has always been vocal on the serious issue of the threat to the very existence of Nameri National Park with his nature organization �Save Nameri�, Nibir Chowdhury, Bhaskar Patangia, Diganta Nath, Pranjal Pratim Bora, Rajkumar Prasad and Utpal Bhuyan have also been working voluntarily over the last many years in a bid to save nature and wildlife, and their contributions have been widely appreciated.

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