Darepalli Ramaiah
The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Padma Shri Award to Shri Daripalli Ramaiah, at a Civil Investiture Ceremony, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on March 30, 2017.
Born (1937-07-01) 1 July 1937 (age 86)
Reddypally, Khammam, Telangana
Other namesChetla Ramaiah
Vanajeevi Ramaiah
OccupationTree conservationist
Known forTree conservation

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.[1] 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.[2]

Early life

He was born in Reddypally village in Khammam district, Hyderabad State (now in Telangana).[3] He had schooling till 10th standard.[4]


Social forestry campaign

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.[5] He sold his 3 acres land to buy more saplings and seeds.

Biography Book

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.

Modus Operandi

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.

Recognition and awards

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.[6]

Year Award
1995 Seva Award
2005 Vanamitra Award[2]
2015 National Innovations and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Award
2017 Padma Shri[1]


  1. ^ a b Correspondent, Special. "Padma awards for five from Telangana; Three from AP also honoured". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b Sridhar, P. "Khammam's green warrior soldiers on". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  3. ^ Sridhar, P. (8 October 2017). "Lesson on 'Vanajeevi' in school likely". The Hindu.
  4. ^ "Man with a green thumb: The Padma awardee who planted 10 million saplings". 29 January 2017.
  5. ^ "How many trees have you planted?". The Better India. 6 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Haritaharam".