List of Padma Awardees 2019 Honoured for Environmental Protection Activities
Saalumarada Thimmakka receiving the Padma Shri Award 2019 from the President of India for planting and taking care of thousands of trees during her lifetime.
The Padma Awards, one of the highest civilian awards of India. The awards are usually announced on the eve of Republic Day every year. The Padma Awards are conferred in three categories. These are, the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
The Padma Awards are given in various disciplines such as art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. In recent years however, there has been an increase in individuals receiving the Padma Awards for the exemplary work they are doing for environmental protection. This is perhaps an indication of the ever-increasing environmental issues, rising pollution levels, increase in industrial impact on environment, climate change, etc.
The 2019 Padma Awards have a number of recipients who belong to the yet to be named Environment category. Mentioned below are some of the recipients of Padma Shri Award 2019 who have been awarded for their work related to environment protection, biodiversity conservation and green innovation.
Centenarian Saalumarada Thimmakka, born in Hulikal village, Karnataka was presented with the Padma Shri award in the Social Work – Environment category. The 106-year-old Saalumarada never had children, and thus along with her husband, she decided to become a mother to the trees. She has planted more than 8,000 trees including over 400 banyan trees, all from her own expenditure.
Saalumarada in Kannada refers to rows of trees. To bestow respect towards her tremendous effort, Thimmakka was given the title of Saalumarada. She is largely recognized as Vrushka Mathe. She also has a foundation in her name, called Saalumarada Thimmakka International Foundation. It works towards conserving the environment and in addition supports schools, education, and health care for the poor.
Jamuna Tudu is a tribal environmentalist from East Singhbhum of Jharkhand. Jamuna is nicknamed Lady Tarzan for her courage and ferocity. She is fighting against the timber mafia to protect forests. Jamuna Tudu has played a great role in mobilizing women.
Armed with sticks, bows, and arrows, the women patrol the forests to protect the trees and animals from mafias. She has also formed the Van Suraksha Samiti to tackle the timber mafia.
Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli
The founder of Raithu Nestham, Venkateswara Rao Yadlapalli is an agriculture journalist and social activist. He has been conferred the award for his contribution to organic farming in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
His organization in Guntur District has become a large training institute which organizes awareness and orientation classes to promote organic farming.
Hukumchand Patidar, a resident of Manpura, a small village in the south-east of Rajasthan has trained local farmers in various organic farming techniques. He has made a mark by promoting organic farming and exporting organic farm produce to countries like Germany, Japan, and Switerzland. Kanwal Singh Chauhan introduced and popularised profitable baby corn farming in India.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) also named him as the recipient for NG Ranga Farmer Award for diversification in agriculture in 2010.
Bharat Bhushan Tyagi
Bharat Bhushan Tyagi comes from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. He has been producing yields without the use of chemical fertilizers which subsequently reduces the cost. He actively promotes and practices organic agricultural techniques.
Kamala Pujhari is a woman tribal agricultural activist from Koraput, Odisha. She has been conferred the prize for her work in preserving hundreds of indigenous paddies, preserving endangered seeds and promoting organic farming.
Babulal Dahiya, a farmer of Satna, is working to conserve indigenous seeds and promoting conservation of biodiversity in Satpura hills.
Narendra Singh and Sultan Singh have been honoured under the Others category for their contribution to animal husbandry. Narendra Singh is recognized for his work to preserve local and native biodiversity, notably Haryana’s Murrah buffalo and Sahiwal cattle breeds.
Karnal’s Sultan Singh, the first person to receive the honour in fish farming, has used innovative technology such as re-circulatory aquaculture technology to set-up fish farms. He has further helped in conservation of endangered varieties of fish.
Ramesh Babaji Maharaj
Founder of Mataji Gaushala, Shri Ramesh Babaji Maharaj from Uttar Pradesh has been conferred the award for his contribution towards taking care of 45,000 cows and establishing India’s largest Bio-gas plant.
Dr. Bimal Patel
Another recipient of the Padma Shri is Dr. Bimal Patel under the category Others – Architecture. Dr. Bimal is an architect, urban planner and an academician from Gujarat. He has worked on the Sabarmati Riverfront Development and post-earthquake redevelopment of Bhuj.
Founder of Shivganga Ashram in MP’s Jhabua, Mahesh Sharma has been conferred the Padma Shri award for the social work in the tribal welfare category. Known as Gandhi of Jhabua, he has worked for setting up thousands of water harvesting structures, libraries, and solar panels.
Daitari Naik from Odisha received the award in the social work category, recognizing his hard work in carving out a 3 km long canal from a mountain. He single-handedly accomplished the task with just a how and crowbar to get water for drinking and irrigation purpose.
Anup Sah is a nature photographer from the Himalayan state, Uttarakhand. Over the past 50 years, he has captured thousands of photos to showcase the Himalayan landscape and wildlife. He believes that the Himalayas are humble and they provide us with a lot of natural resources. He takes photographs of festivals of the Himalayan people, migratory birds, animal, etc.
When such noted works would further get the veneration of mention in a special category, it will not only boost the morale of the ones who receive them but more so, of the present and future generations to work for the conservation, protection, and improvement of the human environment, flora and fauna. Inclusion of Environment as a domain to one of the highest civilian awards of India would, hence, definitely be a path-breaking and trailblazing step in the direction of environment preservation and protection.