Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
The Forest Man of India, Jadav Payeng, and the Forest Man of Arunachal, Indi Glow, attended the Siang flood protection awareness camp at Borguli village in East Siang district recently. The event was organized by Borguli village, under the aegis of the Siang Eco-System Environment Protection and Nurture Group (SEEANG).
The event started with a plantation programme, wherein one hundred trees were planted by dignitaries, officials and villagers. This was followed by the main awareness programme, wherein theme plays, songs and talks were presented by villagers, and children of colleges and schools. Talks on conservation and plantation were given by intellectuals, dignitaries, village leaders and conservationists.
Indi Glow narrated the story of the successful conservation model implemented by him in the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in West Kameng district. He narrated his experiences of transformation of the local villagers from hunters to conservationists.
Jadav Payeng narrated the story of his transformation from humble origins to be named the Forest Man of India. He shared his experience of transformation of a barren sandbar to a lush green forest area of 550 hectares in Kokilamukh, Jorhat, through plantation. He narrated how presently deer, tigers, rhinos and elephants live in the reserve forest. He advised and urged the villagers to plant trees and save the planet.
As per the India State of Forest Report, 2017, there has been a substantial decrease in Arunachal’s forest cover by 190 sq kms. The loss of forest cover has been aggravated by rampant tree-cutting due easy access to hand-held electric sawing machines. Combined with the loss of forest cover is the rampant cutting of hillsides and plantation areas for developmental works. All these are leading to more landslides, mudslides, road blockages and global warming.
Many areas of Mebo, in East Siang, and parts of Lower Dibang Valley, Lohit and Namsai districts are perennially ravaged by rampaging rivers.
For years and decades, many flood protection measures, like bunds, spurs and embankments, have been built for protection against the rampaging rivers. However, as per experts, the final long-term solution is large-scale plantation. It is only trees with soil-holding roots that can provide a lasting solution in addition to conservation of planet Earth.
However, for plantation programmes to be successful, lakhs of trees have to be planted, protected and nurtured till the trees grow independently. Plantation programmes on such a scale require support from the government and other organizations in terms of provision of suitable saplings, fabrication of tree guards and logistics support. A conservationist said that there are two best times for planting trees: 20 years earlier and NOW!
The rate at which trees are being cut, occurrences of floods, landslides and mudslides will increase exponentially. The long-term solution is public awareness and massive plantation. We require many more Forest Men like Jadav Payeng and Indi Glow. Do you also want to plant a tree? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)