The Telegraph
Saturday , June 21 , 2014
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Forest man Payeng on plantation drive

- Move to protect flood, erosion-hit areas

Jorhat, June 20: The Takam Mising Kebang Porin, the largest students’ organisation of the Mising community, has signed up forest man Jadav Payeng for four days to undertake a tree plantation programme in the erosion and flood-affected areas of Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts.

Apart from controlling floods and erosion, the programme’s objective is raising awareness on environmental issues like global warming, especially among schoolchildren, and on nurturing trees so they grow to a mature height.

Indra Kumar Chukrang, general secretary of the central committee of the organisation, said planting trees on World Environment Day or some other occasion had become a token exercise in showing that one cared for the environment and was doing their bit for afforestation.

“However, once the planting programme is over, everyone moves on and no one looks back to see whether the tree survived. Usually what happens is that the sapling dies for want of water, cows chewing off the leaves or people themselves uprooting them for firewood. In case of trees like neem, some break the branches for the leaves, till the tree is shorn of all leaves and dies. In order to make a difference, the tree must be allowed to grow and this is what we are aiming at if we want to make a difference,” Chukrang told The Telegraph over phone from Lakhimpur.

Chukrang said Payeng had been felicitated by the organisation on June 7 when he had sought four days to undertake the programme with schoolchildren “who were more receptive than elders”.

“Accordingly, he is conducting the programmes in which children from all the schools in the area are participating. Today, he is at Jonai and yesterday he conducted the plantation programme at Silapathar. Tomorrow, he will be at Matmora and the day after at Lakhimpur. This is the first phase and in the second phase, we will take up plantation in other areas.”

He said as part of the programme, Payeng had taught about the gathering of fast-growing trees which could be cut and utilised as fuel and not to cut down evergreen ones which aid in keeping the temperature down and bring rainfall or medicinal trees which could be used for preparation of traditional medicines.

Tuni Ram, general secretary of the Dhemaji unit of the organisation, said a few places at Silapathar, Jonai and Jiadhol, all in Dhemaji district, were affected by erosion and they hoped the trees would help contain floods and erosion.

The Mising Autonomous Council is going all out to fast-track development activities. Premadhar Doley, Mising Mimang Kebang general secretary, said they had approached Union minister for state for sports, youth affairs and skill development Sarbananda Sonowal when he visited Majuli and demanded that bridges be built to connect Majuli with Lakhimpur and Jorhat on either side of the Brahmaputra. We demanded the council areas be declared a separate district apart from taking measures to control floods and erosion and declare floods as a national problem, he added.