INTHEM (MARGHERITA), Aug 25 � At a time when rampant deforestation and open-cast coal mining on the Patkai Hills near Ledo are going on unabated, the attempt on the part of a nature lover, Rajesh Singpho, to preserve a huge forest covering about 250 bighas of land at Inthem, Margherita along the Burhi Dihing river is not only a commendable job but also a challenging one. Singpho, who has earned fame in the production of organic tea (Singpho Tea) and secured a market of his own, is also an ardent nature lover. He has protected an area adjacent to his residence where trees and plants grow abundantly.
At his wooden bungalow situated amidst trees, Singpho maintained that the Singpho people have an emotional relationship with nature. As in the earlier times, the community is even now very much dependent on nature. He also said that his family members and relatives help him to preserve the vast forest land.
Inside the forest, there are a number of precious trees and shrubs which are nowadays hard to find even in the rural areas of the State. Some of them have been planted by Singpho�s family. Deer, rabbits, porcupines and other species of herbivorous animals have been taking shelter in large numbers in the forest. There are also carnivorous animals like jackals and panthers inside the forest. He added that several pairs of hornbills have made their nests inside the holes on some hollow trees in the forest. Apart from this, all local varieties of birds are found in the forest. Some birds have even made their nests on the top of Singpho�s bungalow. Squirrels and monkeys even trouble Singpho�s family by eating away the fruits.
After �Molai Kathoni,� a forest strip on a chapori near Neamatighat in Jorhat district which has been preserved by Jadab Payeng alias Molai, this forest at Inthem in Tinsukia district, preserved by Rajesh�s family, is the second of its kind in the State. Singpho, a tea planter, could have earned huge profits if he had carried out tea plantation in the entire forest land. But his strong love for nature has overpowered the yearning for financial benefits. A silent lover of nature, Singpho has plans to extend the forest to the surrounding areas and establish a library in his compound near the forest with books related to nature.