Sonepur: Hara Baghar, 81, of Adiapada village under Ulunda block in Subarnapur district has been protecting the forest covers in his area for the past 30 years despite his weak and feeble physique.
It is his strong determination and love for the nature that he goes to nearby woods early in the morning with a bit of soaked rice and few pieces of onion and works for a day long there.
At his tender age, he had well understood that trees alone help us get oxygen. “One can survive for couple of days without food; but, one cannot survive for even a moment without this precious gas in the atmosphere,” says the old man with a sigh.
According to sources, he has reared and developed a beautiful forest nearby Adiapada village over a span of 30 years as his own family. With a headgear (turban) on head and an axe in his hand, the old man moves from forest to forest in his locality.
Baghar cleans up the termite-affected trees, uproots weeds from forests, plants saplings of species of common use, cuts down harmful unwanted plants and warns wood mafia or informs forest department officials, on a regular basis. A green forest on 35 hectares of land has come up due to his prolific efforts, local villagers said.
Under his regular care, several varieties of saplings have grown into gigantic trees. He has earned accolades from all sections of the society. However, the district administration has not yet appreciated his selfless efforts and the noble cause.
Notably, he takes care of the trees as his own children. There was a time when miscreants were cutting down the trees and he came forward to protect, as forest department remained silent.
Giving his views, Subarnapur divisional forest officer Sushant Kumar Samantaray said, “Hara Baghar is an ardent lover of nature and protecting the trees at this advance age. Young generation should follow his footsteps to protect our forest covers. However, the forest department will felicitate his efforts in coming days.”