Call it her madness or dedication towards the environment, a woman has transformed a vast tract of a barren, hilly region in Bihar into a “green zone” by planting over one lakh trees at her own level. Her initiative has now earned kudos from various quarters for her passion for greenery, something for what the state government has been trying hard for long.

Sarita Devi, a resident of Chanan block in Maoist-infested Lakhisarai district, has become a role model for the society by launching the drive at her own cost. Not only has she conducted large-scale plantation in the Kundar hill area once denuded of green cover and happy hunting ground of the trigger-happy Maoists but she has also opened her own nursery to donate plants to the local villagers.

“I was shocked to see the hills looking dull without green cover. Whatever little greenery was available, the people had been ruthlessly felling. So I first launched a campaign against tree cutting,” says Sarita, in her 50’s, who is more popular as “tree sister” among the local villagers.

According to her, her green campaign started shortly after she was elected the vice-president of the local Forest Development Committee in 2000. Subsequently, the woman along with her husband launched an intensive campaign in the areas to save trees. In 2006, she eventually launched the plantation drive after she became the president of the Forest Development Committee.

“In 2006, I finally launched the plantation drive at my own level. So far, I have planted more than one lakh trees in the barren hilly region which has turned the entire area into a picturesque surrounding. Now, people love to visit them,” said Sarita who has studied up to grade eight.

“It gives a pleasant feeling to see the saplings now turning into trees and the varieties of birds creating beautiful sounds,” she added. She also runs a nursery on her own land from where she had distributed no less than 20,000 saplings free of cost.

Her initiative comes at a time when the Nitish Kumar government formed what he claims the world’s longest human chain last month to make people aware of the importance of environment conservation. For the past over a month, the chief minister has been making extensive tours of the state and telling the villagers the importance of his government’s “Jal-Jivan-Hariyali Abhiyan” (Water-Life-Greenery campaign).

The chief minister goes on saying at every government, party, or public functions that life can’t be imagined without water and greenery and asks the masses to contribute for environment conservation by saving water and focusing on greenery. He has announced to increase state’s green cover from existing 15 per cent to 17 per cent in the next two years.