DOOMDOOMA , Aug 31 - �For the 3,20,000,000 people of Assam, 33% forest area is required. But, at present in the State, only 14% of the area consists of forests. This indicates that the future of the State is dark. For the continued existence of the human civilisation, forests are very much essential. So, each and every one must plant more and more trees and conserve forests for our future,�said the �Forest Man of India�, Padma Shri Jadav Payeng. Addressing the Marhum Raihan Sah memorial lecture on �Climate change and awareness among students� at Doomdooma College on Saturday, Payeng also said that he was not happy on receiving the Padma Shri Award. �If the earth does not exist, what is the use of such awards,� he said.
Payeng also shared his experience about how he turned 1360 acres of sandbars of the river Brahmaputra at Kokilamukh in Jorhat district into a large forest which is now home to varied wildlife. He started this work in 2008 and sheltered 115 wild elephants in this forest. A section of people of the area threatened him for this act, he added.
In 2010, a journalist brought him into limelight. Before he had received the Padma Shri Award, the universities, colleges or other institutions like NEIST in Jorhat didn�t recognise his work, he resented. He also said that the universities and colleges are not giving importance in creating awareness on environment.
Payeng said that to check erosion of the river Brahmaputra, the riverbed must be dug and trees must be planted on either bank of the river. He further said that plying of ships from Sadiya to Dhubri on the Brahmaputra, can check erosion. He urged the students to protect and create forests for their own future.
Environmental activists Bipul Gogoi and Loknath Handique also addressed the gathering. Earlier, the principal of Doomdooma College, Dr Prakashjyoti Borthakur delivered the wel-come address. In the programme, the prizes of the drawing competition organised by the teachers� unit of Doomdooma College on World Environment Day were distributed. The programme was anchored by the Associate Professor of the college, Deepak Ranjan Baruah.