If each adult had planted 10 trees in 30 years AP would have been the greenest state in India.
Reddypally village in Khammam is easy to spot. As you drive from Khammam railway station along the highway, a forest-like canopy will greet you from afar. The rich crown is no forest; it’s one man’s contribution.
Daripally Ramaiah has been planting trees for over 30 years and he has planted approximately 10 million trees and plants in his land, on the roadside, in and around the village.
It can easily be considered a world record. In fact, he keeps planting and looks after them too. He is a marginal farmer with a few guntas of land and a dozen cattle.
Ramaiah along with a young environmentalist Jayaprakash Nambaru, were awarded “environmentalist worth emulating’ award by the AP Environment Connect. In fact, he loves trees like he loves his two daughters and his grandchildren.
Each tree is named by him. A ring he made of wood scraps he has engraved vruksho rakshathi rakshithah (Save trees to be saved by them).
His name may not strike a chord with Hyderabadis but he is a legend in his village. He was felicitated for his green initiative by former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao,
Former CM, N Chandrababu Naidu had given him an allowance to plant trees. Now at 64, he continues to sow seeds and plant trees.
Ramaiah was inspired by the eminent writer from Vizianagaram, Gurajada Apparao, who said, “Keep aside the greed for a while and work for the benefit of the society.”
Ramaiah in his childhood used to ‘plant’ match-sticks believing that he would beget match-stick.
For months he would ‘plant’ sticks and get nothing. Only later he realised that it had to be a seed or a sapling in order for it to grow.
I am very happy to be awarded along with him. Every minute we spend with him is so precious because he emulates the fact in body, mind and spirit that saving trees alone can help us live.
His greatness can be gauged from the fact that every visitor or guest to his house receives a precious sapling as a gift when he or she leaves.
He is still awaiting government permission to sell some of his adult red sandal trees whose harvest is overdue.
The same forest authorities that felicitated him and eulogise him are not granting permission to sell the trees so that he can have a little money on his hands and plough back part of it to plant more trees. This is what one could call as a case of official chicanery!
His wife Janakamma helps him in his mission. And, of course, he has willed that when he dies villagers must plant a 100 trees in his memory.
In these days when everyone is out to denude the earth, here’s a man who shows the right way. A tree, Ramaiah believes , is a lifetime provider of shade, of oxygen, of fruits, of timber, of leaves.
In fact, a tree is a boon that the fallen man has got but does he deserve is a question that pops in mind.
(The writer is Founder and Secretary, I Go Green Foundation, email@example.com)