‘Mad Green Man’ Wages A Solitary Eco Campaign On The Streets In Odisha’s Berhampur

Berhampur: Nicknamed the ‘Mad Green Man’, 59-year-old Sudhir Rout has been waging a campaign for conservation of environment in Ganjam district for the past 14 years.

Sudhir has spent Rs 32 lakh from his own pocket since 2007 to plant around 1.8 lakh saplings on roadsides and 10 bald hills in Ganjam.

These days, he can be spotted campaigning alone on the streets of Berhampur by carrying placards to urge people to keep the air, water and soil clean.

“I started the campaign on June 8 and plan to continue it for at least a month. I walk 10 km every day in the morning to highlight the importance of a clean environment. Due to the pandemic situation and the lockdown restrictions, I walk alone and discourage others to join me so as to maintain the COVID norms,” he said.

Sudhir is the convenor of Aryabhatt Foundation and Forum for Ganjam, two organisations spearheading movements for the development of the people in the district.

A native of Madhabandha village in Chikiti block, Sudhir completed his MSc in Physics from Khallikote College in 1985 and became a faculty member of FIIT-JEE, New Delhi from 1999 to 2002. He also worked as the principal of Nalanda Residential College in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh from 2002 to 2006, before launching Aryabhatta Coaching Centre in Berhampur.

Sudhir says a holistic approach is needed to fight climate change. “A tree can take a maximum of 414 carbon particles and we can’t improve the environment only through plantations. We need a holistic approach including proper treatment of water bodies and soil. Though we have some drawbacks, we can arrest climate change to a great extent through community participation,” he added.

Asked about the physical strain of walking for 10 km every day, Sudhir quoted Mahatma Gandhi by saying, “We have to suffer for a cause. Let me suffer for the cause,”

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