ANDHRA PRADESH

Khammam’s green warrior soldiers on

LEADING BY EXAMPLE:Daripalli Ramaiah and his wife Janamma are a selfless couple who have planted innumerable saplings and raised thousands of trees in decades-long effort to prevent environmental degradation.– Photo: G.N. Rao

LEADING BY EXAMPLE:Daripalli Ramaiah and his wife Janamma are a selfless couple who have planted innumerable saplings and raised thousands of trees in decades-long effort to prevent environmental degradation.– Photo: G.N. Rao  

68-year-old Daripalli Ramaiah has been striving for decades to expand tree cover, and has no plans to stop

Driven by an inexhaustible zeal and undeterred by old age, 68-year-old Daripalli Ramaiah has been spearheading his decades-old tree plantation drive.

‘Vanajeevi’ Ramaiah, as he is widely known for his invaluable contribution to expanding tree cover – particularly bio-diesel plants – hails from Reddypally village in Khammam rural mandal. He is estimated to have planted more than one crore saplings, including shady trees such as neem, and biodiesel plants like ganuga ( pongamia ) in Khammam and other parts of the district.

The TDP government in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh had sanctioned him a moped in recognition of his relentless pursuit to grow trees, and a provision for payment of honorarium to support his endeavour. However, the moped has become defunct after more than a decade, compelling Mr. Ramulu to hire an auto-rickshaw to carry out his work.

His wife Janamma is an active support in his mission to protecting the environment. She nurtures the saplings planted by her husband in and around their small house at Reddypally with utmost care for huge trees.

“I don’t exactly remember the number of trees I have planted over the years,” says Mr. Ramaiah. “I believe in action and not in just preaching,” he asserts.

Mr. Ramaiah has planted hundreds of bio-diesel plants, particularly ganuga at Pindiprolu, Dammaigudem and other villages, besides at various open spaces along the Khammam-Tirumalayapalem road.

The bio-fuel yielding plants not only help protect the environment, but also augment income and prove economically productive.

The veteran environmental activist says trees useful in the production of eco-friendly bio-diesel should be planted on a large-scale under ‘Haritha Haram’, a green drive initiated by the Telangana government, the veteran environmental campaigner advises.

The government should incorporate pictures highlighting the significance of tree plantation on currency notes to motivate citizens to becoming active partners in tree plantation drives, he suggests.

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