By Baba Umar
To the people of Karad, a town 310 km south of Mumbai, Chandrakant Jadav is Elzéard Bouffier of The Man Who Planted Trees. Like the protagonist Bouffier, an unassuming goatherd who singlehandedly reforests a desolate valley in France, Jadav started out by planting around 400 trees in the empty patches of his town in Satara district. Now, he leads a group of six locals who, since 2006, have been carrying out a tree census in the town. “It’s not a big project but it is of enormous import. So far we have counted 17,000 trees in the city, where over 57,000 people live,” he says. Jadav planted his first tree in 2003. Over the past five summers, Jadav’s group, comprising botanists, businessmen, doctors and lawyers, has compiled an inventory of every tree in Karad. Thanks to his efforts, now streets are being named after trees, like Shankeshwar Road, Amaltash Road and Parijatak Road. The former government contractor, locally known as ‘Paryavaran Mitra’, looks after trees as a hobby. He and his group water the trees, cut, prune and dress them. Lately, Jadav has also helped relocate trees that were facing the axe.
Jadav can be reached at +91 94230 33919