Meet Mangrove Man Pranabesh Maiti of Sunderbans
Most of us get so caught in the web of life and forget to care about the rest of the world. In search of greener pastures, we often leave our roots and never look back. But PranabeshMaiti, is a true son of the soil- who gave up the lucrative teaching job, the prospect of a better future and other worldly pleasures to rehabilitate his own homeland- Sundarbans, a desolate region which needed help for the well-being of the region and the people.
Pranabesh Maiti belongs to a small farmer family of Sagar Island of Sunderbans. The ravaging cyclone Aila had caused massive devastation in his homeland and almost changed the landscape of the region. It also caused havoc in the lives of the locals. The mangrove plantations were swept away by erosion and the saline water infiltrated, thus turning the cultivable lands unsuitable for any crops. Traditional livelihood thus became endangered.Even tigers entered into human territory and killed people. People suffered from scarcity of food. Girls were sold off to prostitution for the sake of food.
Pranabesh was deeply perturbed by the ongoing turbulence in his homeland and wanted to re-establish the ecological balance of the region. He realized planting saplings to protect his land from further erosion and devastation in days to come will help land reclamation. He started with one sapling which has now spread to form a forest.
He reached out to youth of the area to teach them how to co-exist with nature. Pranabesh Maiti is now called the Mangrove Man and has come up with an innovative initiative called Sundarban Green Environment Association(SGEA) with an aim to conserve, restore and plant mangrove vegetation and protect the river embankment in Gosaba and its adjacent regions. SGEA has worked relentlessly for the development of the region and until now, 4 kilometers along riverside have been converted to 150500 mangroves which have positive impact on the biological and social diversity of the region and helped in maintaining the ecological balance. More than 300 families have been benefited and have been able to indulge in farming.
SGEA also dreams of creating natural wall of mangroves by planting 5000 mangrove saplings. Pranabesh Maiti is truly a dreamer with a definite vision. He is trying to employ women, educate children and also intends to start a library with children and adults to bring in an all-around development of the Sunderban area. He wants to involve the local community to create a mass awareness so that everyone can work hand in hand to march towards a better future.