WHY IN NEWS?
- The 94-year-old Chipko movement leader and a noted environmentalist, passed away due to COVID-19 on May 21, 2021, at AIIMS hospital in Rishikesh.
- Sunderlal Bahunga, born in Tehri, Uttarakhand, was a noted environmentalist and the Chipko Movement leader.
- From an early age, he began organizing social activities like anti-liquor drive, spreading messages of non-violence, adopted Gandhian principles, and took note of damage done to the eco-system of the Himalayas.
- The Chipko Movement started in 1973 in an effort to stop deforestation in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Chipko, meaning to hug, was a significant move by the local women of the village who then started hugging the trees to save trees from being cut.
Sunderlal helped the Chipko movement gain prominence and gaining support which later resulted in then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi issuing a 15-year ban on cutting green tress.
- He was also an activist in the Anti-Tehri Dam Movement during the 1980s.
- He fought hard and long for preserving forests in the Himalayas.
- He was Padma Vibhushan awardee, first in 1981 which he refused, and later in 2009 for environment conservation.
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