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Forest Man of India Strives to Make Mexico Greener, Country Grants Him Visa for 10 Years

By: Niloy Bhattacherjee


Last Updated: June 08, 2021, 11:13 IST

Forest Man

Forest Man

The world is my home and the young generation my strength. I need to change the world green for the young and the developed nations are realizing this fast says Jadav Payeng.

Come September, India’s forest-man shall fly to Mexico on a special invitation. Jadav Payeng’s journey from a remote corner in the world largest inhabited river island Majuli to Mexico shall be to make the North American county greener.

“It’s a project involving eight lakh hectare of land by the government of the country. I need to involve one lakh student per day to initiate the massive plantation drive. I have signed an understanding for this. The country has provided me visa for 10 years. I shall be in Mexico for three months every year. September, October and November are the ideal months in Mexico to plant tree. The world is my home and the young generation my strength. I need to change the world green for the young and the developed nations are realizing this fast” says Jadav Payeng.

Molai Payeng as he is known back home has signed an agreement with a Mexican NGO, Fundación Azteca, on December 7 to collaborate on environmental works in the North American country.

Cesar Rivas, the Director of entrepreneurship and environmental action at Fundación Azteca will be the focal point to develop the collaboration between the institution and Jadav Payeng.

“As we have pointed out, it is an honour for us to have the opportunity of boosting capacity building in favour of conservation and restoration of ecosystems, through the experience and knowledge of Mr Payeng. Specifically, we are keen on inspiring present and future generations to take action for saving our planet. In this context, we will be sending you a tentative activities calendar to achieve those goals,” Rivas said.

“We would love that Mr Payeng could be one of the featured speakers at the Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Summit. Space where we boost networking, capacity building, and we recognize the most outstanding and innovative entrepreneurs. This event will take place in November 2021. We want to Spread Mr Jadav Payeng work and his commitment to the protection and restoration of forests among Civil Society Organizations allied to the Foundation”, as well as in its networks and platforms. We are confident that our collaboration will boost positive changes in favour of the environment, ” Rivas added.

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Fundacion Azteca, founded in 1997 and owned by Grupo Salinas, is a Mexican non-profit organization that promotes social responsibility, specifically towards the environment

“India is overpopulated that’s the concern. We need to plant trees in each free space available in the country or else things shall be difficult. The advanced countries now have realized their exploitation of nature and so they are in a corrective drive. Situation in less advanced countries is still better provided that action starts right way” says Payeng. “I have advised the Mexico government to choose indigenous varieties over imported ones “added Payeng.

Turning barren land into green paradise is what this Padmashree awardee specializes in.  Payeng is credited for single-handedly transforming a barren sandbar of the Brahmaputra into a 550-hectare forest by planting trees. Molai Kathoni today is home to deer, rabbits, royal Bengal tigers a couple of them, herds of elephants and large variety of local and migratory birds. Form 50 bamboo shoots in 1979 to a huge expanse of green, Jadav Payeng has shown the world what dedication and determination can achieve.

Fairly, students in the United States (US) are taught a lesson about Padma Shri awardee Payeng. Payeng’s work is included in the curriculum of sixth grade students of Green Hills School, Bristol, Connecticut. The students learn about Payeng’s work as a part of their ecology lesson.

“Nature has an answer to COVID. I have seen my forest rejuvenate during the lockdown.  Northeast is green and covered with thick forest, the progression of the pandemic is less in the region compared to the rest of the country. I have urged the UNESCO brand ambassador to observe seven days of lockdown every year to allow nature to liven. I am optimistic” says Jadav Payeng.

For the man whose life revolves around the tall trees and “Molai Kathoni”, Jadav Payeng intends to take an Areca nut and a coconut sapling along with him to Mexico as a gift from the land of tea and rhinos.

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first published:June 08, 2021, 09:51 IST
last updated:June 08, 2021, 11:13 IST