Around 1979, when Payeng was only 16 years old he witnessed a dreadful sight that evoked in him a sense of responsibility towards nature-conservation. He saw numerous snakes dying of intense heat after being washed by floods onto the tree-less sandbar. He was deeply saddened by this incident & decided to make a change for the betterment of the wildlife and planted 20 bamboo seedlings on the sandbar after which there was no stopping him.
The same year Payeng started working in the forestry division for a project that involved tree plantation on 200 hectares at Aruna chapori, in Jorhat District. Payeng worked as a labourer for over 5 years until the project was complete, However he stayed back to continue doing the great job of planting more trees in an effort to transform the barren land into a forest.
After decades of pure dedication & laborious job he transformed the barren face of the sandbar of the river Brahmaputra in to 550 hectares of plush forest. With no support from any authority or the forest division, he single-handedly planted & tended the trees which now stand together to form a wooded haven for many different species of birds & animals. This forest was then named after him, the Molai Forest.
From Mr. Jadav Payeng to Padma Shri Jadav Payeng
On 22 April, the school of environmental sciences, JNU felicitated Payeng at a public function attended by eminent people. He was honoured with padma shri the fourth highest civilian award.
His story is an inspiration to all & we all can do our bit in saving energy. Plant at least a tree a year, use Energy-efficient appliances and reduce wastage to make a better tomorrow for the generations to come.