Padma Shree Jadav Payeng

‘Forest Man of India’ Jadav Molai Payeng on July 4 emphasised the need for India to increase its focus on cultivating sandalwood trees, known for their high value.

“India, with its rich biodiversity and favorable climatic conditions, should embrace sandalwood plantation as a sustainable and economically viable initiative,” the environmentalist said.

Speaking at the 16th inaugural day celebration of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Shillong, Jadav Payeng highlighted the importance of planting sandalwood trees for their environmental and economic value, even as he cited examples from countries like China and Taiwan.

Underscoring the need to educate young children about the significance of planting and nurturing trees, the Padma Shri awardee envisioned children becoming ambassadors in the global movement to recreate a sustainable environment for a liveable planet Earth.

Jadav Payeng passionately expressed that parents entrust their children to nature’s care, as it provides essential elements such as oxygen, sunlight, and more, nurturing them into worthy human beings.

He also urged the government to implement necessary measures to ban air rifles, thereby preventing the killing of birds.

“Several states have already taken action in this regard,” he said.

Jadav Payeng, who turned 550 acres of barren land into a lush green forest in Assam’s Majuli district, also highlighted that the forest, which he initiated 42 years ago, now serves as a home to 115 elephants, tigers, leopards, rhinoceros, and other wildlife.

The forest attracts 80 per cent of Indian migratory birds.

Payeng’s dream project of connecting ‘his’ forest with Kaziranga National Park, a 60-kilometer stretch, is currently in progress, furthering the cause of conservation and biodiversity.

IIM Shillong director DP Goyal declared that July 4th would be celebrated as inaugural day every year at IIM Shillong, with a special emphasis on conducting a plantation drive.

“This initiative aims to foster a deep sense of responsibility towards nature and the environment among the institute’s community,” Goyal said.

Exhorting all members of the IIM Shillong fraternity to actively participate in and contribute to the plantation drive, Goyal emphasised the importance of individuals’ collective efforts in preserving and enhancing the environment for a sustainable future.

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