Assam girl’s small steps for giant green leap
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone...
This famous Gerry and The Pacemakers song explains the story of Nizara Phukan, a native of Desangpani village in Sivasagar district, who is on a padayatra from Charaideo to New Delhi “to save the Mother Earth”.
Nizara, 31, a PhD student of Russian studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, who started her journey on December 1, reached here on Sunday.
“I want to spread the message of saving Mother Earth by planting trees. The government is also doing its job. It is our duty to support the cause. This is a huge task,” Nizara, who also did her MPhil in Russian Studies from JNU, told The Telegraph.
She added that some of her friends started a group, Brikhyabandhu, which works to save the environment and tackle climate change.
“We did a few tree-planting activities but I found that it was a big challenge and we needed to work on a larger scale,” she added.
“We have a forest-protection force but there is need for an environmental security force as well to tackle pollution,” Nizara said, adding that there should be an university for environmental studies in the Northeast.
She said she should be able to reach New Delhi anytime between March 7 and 10 where she would meet President Ram Nath Kovind and Union forest and environment minister Prakash Javadekar.
Gauri Shankar Kalita, 24, another environment activist, will join Nizara on her journey to Delhi in a couple of days.
Assam forest and environment minister Parimal Suklabaidya on Sunday tweeted, “Nizara Phukan of Charaideo district is a young, very talented and an inspiring youth who has taken the pledge to spread out a positive message of saving the Mother Earth. Myself, along with ex-deputy Speaker Dilip Paul and environmental activist Rituraj Phukan, interacted with the team today at my official residence and promised to provide all logistical support to Miss Phukan on behalf of the Government of Assam on her remarkable journey for Mother Earth.”
Nizrana thanked environmental activists Phukan and India’s “Forest Man” Jadav Payeng for their support.
According to the 2017 Assam forest report, there has been an increase of 567 square km of forest cover across the state owing to plantations mostly outside forest areas.
Rotational felling in tea gardens, shifting cultivation and development activities cause depletion of green cover in some districts.