Padma Shree Jadav Payeng

Padma Shri Jadav Payeng, popularly known as the ‘Forest Man of India’, suggested that the border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh must plant trees on either side of the border.

Payeng, who earlier signed an agreement with an NGO to collaborate on environmental projects in Mexico to guide the planting of seven million trees in the North American country, said that if the earth does not survive, how would one protect his country.

“Adopting an inclusive planning of plantation drive, para-military forces of both India and Bangladesh can plant thousands of trees on their sides of the border,” Jadav Payeng said on November 16 while addressing the opening day of the three-day 6th edition of the “Northeast Green Summit” in Silchar.

Jadav Payeng, 63, had created a record earlier by planting 40 million trees in 30 years and creating a man-made forest and completely changed the barren sandbar of the Brahmaputra covering an area of 550 hectares of land in eastern Assam’s Jorhat district.

He told the summit: “A top rank BSF (Border Security Force) officer once came to see my jungle. I requested him to do something for the earth. We will live if the earth remains alive. I told him if the earth does not survive, how will he save his country? You have a lot of responsibility and duty towards the earth.”

Jadav Payeng also advised connecting plantations to children’s education. “When a child takes admission in a school, the kid should plant a tree and if the students continue to plant trees, will ensure enough plantation every year and make the children environment-conscious too. In other words, the kid will be responsible for generating the oxygen he or she consumes,” he pointed out.

Speaking on the occasion, Lok Sabha member from Silchar, Rajdeep Roy said that the mother earth is the home of the people and there should be a sustainable ecosystem for the future generation.

IIT Guwahati director TG Sitharam, Silchar NIT director Sivaji Bandopadhyay, Assam’s additional secretary to the industries and commerce department Probin Chandra Bora, environmentalists and retired bureaucrats Ranjan Chatterjee and CP Marak also spoke at the summit.

The Northeast Green Summit (NGS), supported by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) being held in southern Assam city Silchar and forest ministers of eight Northeast states were expected to meet to discuss climate change and conservation issues in the region.

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