Silchar (Assam): Stressing that people will survive only if the Earth lives, Padma Shri Jadav Payeng on Tuesday called on the paramilitary forces of India and Bangladesh to plant trees along the border to prevent soil erosion and combat global warming.

Payeng, who is known as the ‘Forest Man of India’, also recommended linking planting trees to children’s education to bolster the effort and make them environmentally conscious.

He was speaking on the inaugural day of the sixth Northeast Green Summit here. The three-day summit has been organised by Guwahati-based non-profit Vibgyor NE Foundation in association with Don Bosco School and National Institute of Technology, Silchar.

According to its website, the summit is aimed at raising awareness about the rich and diverse natural habitat, biodiversity and cultural heritage of northeast India.

India’s BSF and their counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) man their respective side of the border.

Addressing the gathering, Payeng said, “A top rank BSF officer came to see my jungle. I have requested him to do something for Earth. We will only live if the Earth lives. What is the meaning of our lives if the earth is dying?”

“I asked him if the Earth does not survive, how he will save his country. You have a lot of responsibility and duty towards Earth. The paramilitary forces of India and Bangladesh should plant trees on both sides of their border to stop soil erosion and combat global warming,” he said.

Payeng also suggested that when a child takes admission in a school, he or she should plant a tree. After five years he or she should plant two trees. This will ensure enough planation every year and make children environmentally conscious too.

In other words, the child will be responsible for generating the oxygen he or she consumes, he said.

He also urged the people of Assam’s Barak Valley to restore and preserve its beauty and plant saplings on its barren lands.

Among those who attended the summit were Silchar MP Rajdeep Roy; director of NIT Silchar Sivaji Bandopadhyay; Provincial of Don Bosco Salesean Province, Shillong C P Marak; and additional secretary to Assam government Probin Chandra Bora, among others.

Roy said Mother Earth is our home and we should leave behind a sustainable ecosystem for our future generations.

Bandopadhyay gave the opening speech and spoke at length about the greening happening around the campus of NIT, Silchar.

IIT Guwahati Director T G Sitharam virtually spoke at the event, while Marak talked about the importance of the Northeast Green Summit.

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