Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 4:
Joginatha Sahu, who pioneered the forest protection movement in Odisha, died at a city hospital today.
The retired school teacher fondly called ‘Jogi Sir’ suffered a massive cardiac arrest and breathed his last at 11.30 am today. He was 75.
Jogi Sir formed an organistaion called the Bruksha O’ Jeebara Bandhu Parishad after retiring as a teacher and soon became an innovative leader of the Community Forest Management movement and took it to new heights.
Along with Uday Nath Khatua, he was instrumental in transforming the denuded Malati hill at Kesharpur in the district of Nayagarh, locally named the “landa pahada” or the denuded hill. The hill is now full of greenery and is a sight to behold.
Sahu became recognized all over the state for his role in introducing the “Thengapali” system of community forest management in the forest range of Nayagarh district. This system started by him involves random identification of the volunteer who would supervise the forest by placing a stick in front to his house. This system of community forest management was studied by the Toronto University, USA and subsequently included in their curriculum.
“The practice of “Thengapali”, which has now been adopted by 12,000 forest villages, is the culmination of the sincere efforts of Sahu,” opined Kailash Chandra Dash, Executive Director of RCDC.