TEZPUR, Aug 5 � At a time when the rapid degradation of the State�s reserve forests, following deforestation by a section of unscrupulous people including the Forest department officials having a nexus with the political leaders has been escalating, the serious issue of man-elephant conflict is hogging headlines, simple and down- to-earth people like Tarun Koch and educated unemployed youths like Dip Saikia of Kawoimari area near here have been able to set a unique example of maintaining ecological balance by planting various species of valuable trees in their own lands.
It is to be mentioned here that Tarun Koch who is popularly known as Tarunda among the people of greater Kawoi-mari area under Bihaguri development block in Sonitpur district is a true lover of biodiversity and flora and fauna, has set up a reserve forest by planting valuable trees like saal, segun, titasopa, agar, salakh and some other medicinal plants in almost ten bighas of land.
Tarun Koch, an ASEB employee started his mission of �green and keep the environment clean� in 2001 through plantation with 200 saplings in a small plot of land. Today he is owner of more than 10,000 valuable trees creating a sort of green revolution in the area. A true nature lover, Tarun, while interacting with this correspondent, stated that he is happy that his mission to set up a botanical garden after strenous efforts by his three-member family has borne fruit. He has spent more than Rs 15 lakh till date on his labour of love. However, Tarun and his wife Santona were critical of the Government�s indifference towards their effort and said that though they have appealed to the government many times seeking financial help, but there has been no response.
�For the conservation of the forest, we wrote to the Chief Minister and even to the Prime Minister but to no avail,� said the couple adding that at times frustration creeps in as certain diseases sometime fatally attack the plants following which till date 200 valuable plants (segun) have died. This was also informed to the Forest department, but till today no communication has been received from it.
�Moreover, some unscrupulous people have also felled many valuable trees, which also troubles me a lot,� Tarun added. A fan of music maestro Dr Bhupen Hazarika, Tarun dreams of naming his botanical garden after his idol�s name if formal permission is received.
It is pertinent to mention here that at a time when misappropriation of crores of rupees sanctioned in the name of social forestry has been alleged, Tarun Koch�s noble effort to make a reserve forest at his own cost has become a major attraction for a section of nature lovers including educated youths of the greater area.
Motivated with Tarun Koch�s exceptional idea of reservation of forest amid a number of obstacles including high prices of pesticides, herbicides, seedlings, fertiliser and proper manpower, an educated youth of the area, Dip Saikia has also been able to turn a sizable area of barren land into lush verdant field by cultivating valuable plants like segun and agar. He says that one can contribute in checking global warming through the plantation of trees, which is also a good way to earn a decent livelihood.