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By Behindwoods News Bureau | Nov 20, 2018 02:16 PM
Cyclone Gaja destroys 3000 trees planted by Maram Thangasamy

Close to 70% of the trees planted by late green activist Maram Thangasamy have been uprooted and devastated due to Cyclone 'Gaja'.

Thangasamy spent the better part of his life planting more and more trees. The environmentalist who was fondly called ‘Maram’ (tree) Thangasamy had planted millions of tree saplings across the state and traveled across India advocating the benefits of planting trees died in September at the age of 81.


His son Kannan estimated not less than 3,000 trees were felled by the massive storm. The 3,000 trees had been nurtured by Thangasamy over 30 acres of land in Senthangudi village.


“After the cyclone, I went to check our land and found most of the trees were uprooted. We could not cut and remove them as it would require a lot of effort,” said Thangasamy's son Kannan. 

Thangasamy also planted saplings at almost all government office premises in Pudukkottai district and ensured their safe growth. Even these trees have been wiped out by the cyclone. He kept a neatly maintained ledger with clear tabular columns showing dates of planting, the significance of those days and the varieties of saplings planted. The register was started on June 11, 1967 and updated to the last days of his life.

“Had my father-in-law been alive now, he would have died of shock after seeing the devastation caused by the cyclone to his trees,” said Kannan's wife.

As a result of the devastation caused by the storm, Kannan feels that the government should provide a variety of saplings to the people. “The agriculture and forest departments should first assist farmers in removing fallen trees and distribute free saplings of fast-growing varieties. Coconut saplings should be given to coconut growers along with other assistance,” he said.

Even on his death, the family upheld his mission and all those who attended Thangasamy's last rites were given a sapling each by the family, which they urged them to plant on their land.


*Originally published in The New Indian Express*