BERHAMPUR: In a calamity-prone Ganjam, several hills had turned barren due to recurring cyclones and indiscriminate felling of trees for widening of roads in the last two decades.
However, one after another the hills are regaining their green cover, thanks to the determined efforts of one man Sudhir Rout, who has been on a mission to rekindle life into them by planting trees.
Today, at least 10 bald hills are covered with vegetation and new trees planted on the roadsides. For his efforts, the 59-year-old environmentalist, who belongs to Madhabandha village in Chikiti block, has earned the moniker ‘Green Man’.
Sudhir, who is also an educationist, has spent nearly Rs 32 lakh from his savings to plant over three lakh saplings on the roadsides and 10 barren hills in Ganjam over the last 14 years. He is now on a padayatra throughout the district urging locals to plant trees and keep air, water and soil clean.
Having started the campaign on June 8, he plans to walk throughout the district to highlight the importance of maintaining an environmental balance.
“My campaign will continue till the month-end. I walk for at least 10 km a day meeting people at various villages and urging them to plant trees and keep nature clean”, said Sudhir, who is the convenor of Aryabhatt Foundation and Forum for Ganjam, two organisations working for development of the people in the district.
The former principal of Nalanda Residential College in Vijayawada and faculty member of FIIT-JEE from 1999 to 2002, Sudhir launched Aryabhatta Coaching Centre in Berhampur a decade back. Sudhir said a holistic approach is needed to fight climate change.
“We cannot just improve our environment by planting trees because one tree can take a maximum of 414 carbon particles.
Hence, we need a holistic approach including proper treatment of water bodies and soil”, said the environmentalist who has been throwing seed balls in forests and hills to grow more trees since 2019.
“Forty per cent of these seed balls have germinated and the plants are growing well”, he said. Members of both of his organisations help him in the plantation drive and so far, they have regenerated forests at Pitatali and Tamana.