Hindustan Network; January 4, 2006
Over the last 12 years, a blind man, Srinibas Jena of Bhagipur village in the coastal district of Cuttack, has turned a 5-kilometre stretch of barren land to lush greenery.
Jena, who lost his eyesight when he was five years old, was inspired by a radio programme on the importance of forests and an ecologically balanced environment. He started out by a few cashew nut trees. Now there are mango, guava and other fruit bearing trees as well.
Jena nurtured all the trees, even protecting them from marauding elephants with the help of his wife Kuni, who married him to help in his mission. “Each year, we earn our livelihood selling fruits from these trees. Whatever we get we are happy,” she says.
Jena's farmer-uncle Bagirathi proudly says that Jena is better than most people with eyesight and is now a celebrity among villagers with his tree plantation and conservation drive.