Ex Army Man’s pursuit of greening Odisha

Khirod Jena is a 54-year-old former army man who is a resident of Kalashree village, Odisha.  Everyday early morning he goes out on his two wheeler and looks out for patches of land which are vacant. He along with him carries a bag of saplings. Whenever he finds such a land, he plants the saplings. He also builds a fence around it to save it from cattle. This has been his routine for the past 16 years and he continues to do this. He has a purpose of greening Odhisha.

He retired in 2005 and since then he has planted more than 20,000 trees which bear fruits such as jamun, mango, guava and many others on roadsides and public spaces. In this year’s monsoon, he has planted more than 500 saplings of plants which bear fruits.He got the inspiration from Kishore Chandra Das. He has a similar mission of greening Odisha. He went to join the Army in 1985. At that time his village was full of greenery and trees. But when he returned after 20 years, there were no trees left. Therefore he embarked on a journey of greening the area himself.

Bahadiha hill, which was barren a decade back is now again green because Khirod Jena had planted hundreds of trees there. He takes care of all these plants with his pension money. He spends around 10,000 every month to buy saplings of plants, tools required, fertilizers and manure. He has a goal of planting 1,00,000 fruit trees. He is unstoppable. Khirod Jena’s aim of greening Odisha has been creating awareness for this generation regarding the importance of trees and plants. He has planted hundreds and hundreds of plants himself alone. He is the true example of grit and spirit. His efforts deserve respect and appreciation.