Pompayya Malemath is a wild life enthusiast from Hospet, Karnataka works for 3 years to transform a barren acre to thriving forest. It is said that once he noticed a scrubby patch of land that bordered his property, which was lying empty and was turned into a dumping ground. He felt he must do something to change this area by planting some trees. So he took initiative to write to the Tungabhadra Board asking them permission to do so. The ideas were accepted by the board, provided that he will not claim ownership of that particular patch of land as it belongs to the state. He treated this as a project for restoration and not for any commercial gains.
He began by clearing up the place as people have been dumping in this land; surveyed the entire place and the soil quality to check whether saplings can be planted. He took help of his family members in getting the things done. He dug up trenches and filled them with good soil. After which he brought coconut, Neem and papaya trees, telling himself that out of the 50 saplings even if two survived, he would feel it’s of a significant value. But to his surprise every sapling took root and that gave him the motivation to continue and ensure that this place is converted into a forest with 800 trees within a span of 3 years.
He felt that his efforts were to wanting to give back to the nature that has given us everything and planting trees seemed the best way to do so says Pompayya. His tireless efforts bore fruit when the barren patch of empty land that used to be a dumping ground became a thriving forest only in 3 years. This patch of green is a ray of sunshine for the environment conservationists across the world. By profession he was a photographer and a tour operator, fascinated with wild life and plants at a very early age in life.
It is said that he was a volunteer at the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary and at this time he did all kinds of odd jobs and in the process learnt about animal and plant species. He was elected as representative in his Panchayat, and he began raising awareness about the need for conservation in his village, which enabled him to get in touch with the forest department, which was inspired by his dedication, and the officials helped him by supplying the saplings for free.
What is very inspiring is that he managed to get water for these trees from one of his friend who volunteered to supply water for the saplings from his own bore well. He not only found way to take care of the trees, it is said that he spent around 3 lakhs of his personal money to purchase manure for these trees. The impact of the work is seen in that way how the trees have grown; and today there 800 of them that also shelters birds as well as animals.
Pompayya is a great example for his innovative way of making the earth a better place for our children, and he took courage in doing something that compelled him and pushed him to take care of these saplings like the way one takes care of children, he was passionate about trees and bringing light into darkness. I am glad I found him in our neighboring state and happy to share his story. .
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