Gonda, Dec 16, 2019: Over the years, activists have sparked various movements for conservation of trees from ’Chipko’ movement to sapling plantation. But environment activist in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda, Paragdutt Mishra, is "directly" taking help from God to save the forest. He has saved more that a thousand trees so far.
The chief of Wazirganj development block’s Nagwa Panchayat, Mishra told IANS: "Forest are drastically being damaged in the name of development and road extension. Villagers have no knowledge about climate change and ecological balance. But pictures of gods and goddesses on trees are successfully deterring people, who believe in god, from cutting them".
"I have made deities the patron of trees," said Mishra. He use to carve picture of gods and goddesses on the trunks of trees and paints them with vermillion. Thereafter, villagers start worshipping the trees.
Mishra said that he always keeps paint, brush, tools and vermillion with him. He used to paint trees standing at the sides of roads and then carves ’gada’, trident and Lord Hanuman on them following by final "make-up" with vermillion.
He said the cost for painting and carving on a single tree is around Rs 200 that he pays from his pocket. "The forest was towards the end at our panchayat following the blind cutting of trees. But my trick worked and now we are blessed with the nature," Mishra said.
"Almost all trees have been cut down that we planted after I became ’Pradhan’ last time. It was a heavy loss, now taking help from almighty is proving beneficial," he added.
Worried over shrinking forest area, Mishra said: "We have a population of 8,000 in our panchayat while the number of trees has been reached around 10,000. But people are desperate to cut them, hence, we have started this campaign".
A villager said that following the success of Mishra’s efforts, people in nearby villages have started conserving trees applying the same approach.