Daripalli Ramaiah (also known as Chetla Ramaiah, Vanajeevi Ramaiah; born 1937) is an Indian social worker known for his social forestry initiatives. He is the recipient of the Padma Shri award for the year 2017, for his invaluable contribution to extending tree cover. He is locally known as 'Chetla Ramaiah', (transl. Trees Ramaiah). On a mission to bring back the green cover, he is estimated to have planted more than 100 thousand saplings in and around Khammam district with a thrust on trees that provide shade, fruit-bearing plants, and biodiesel plants with assured benefit to future generations.
He was born in Reddypally village in Khammam district, Hyderabad State (now in Telangana). He had schooling till 10th standard.
As a relentless campaigner of social forestry for more than five decades, Ramaiah himself cannot recall when it all exactly started. He remembers vaguely that as a child he often saw his mother saving the seeds of vegetable plants for the next growing season. Ever since he was a child, he has been collecting seeds of native trees such as Sandalwood, Albizia saman, Ficus religiosa, Aegle marmelos, Neolamarckia cadamba and many more in his mission to cover every barren land with trees.
Ramaiah believes in seed as the solution to human well being. "Of all the species that consider the Earth as their home, the most exalted is the human being. He supposedly has intellect, can think, can do and can get things done. Nature has bestowed her choicest blessings on this form of life. Therefore, we have a duty towards nature. Protect the nature; protect everything created by God, for the posterity", says Ramaiah. He sold his 3 acres land to buy more saplings and seeds.
Vitthanam nundi Padmam Varaku-Vanajeevi Prayaanam by Naresh Jilla in Telugu. This book describes Ramaiah's life from childhood to Padma Sri and Ramaiah's succession Principles.
Ramaiah transformed the famous quote "Plant a tree and save a life" into action rather than lecturing the benefits. Locals know him as a man with pockets full of seeds and who pedals miles together with an overload of saplings on his bicycle. He truly recognises the need to plant trees to save our environment and desperately plants saplings in each and every barren land he passes by. Sometimes he is accompanied by his wife and children from local schools. Though he never had any formal education, Ramaiah in his pursuit has read up umpteen number of books on trees and the process of planting trees. He is considered as a walking encyclopedia on plants.
The government of Andhra Pradesh gave him special recognition for his relentless drive and contribution towards the country. After the formation of Telangana, he continued to receive support from the Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao's flagship programmes such as Telangana Ku Haritha Hāram (Green Garland). The objective of Haritha Hāram scheme is to increase the green cover from present 24% to 33% of the total geographical area of the state.
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