ANANTAPUR: The once bald mountains and barren valleys in the five Mandals of Roddam, Penukonda, Chillamathur, Gorantla and Somandepalli in Anantapur district are now teeming with greenery and life. More than 20 years of sincere effort in the direction has paid rich dividends.
Dense forests have been raised and massive shade giving and fruit bearing trees developed into a canopy covering thousands of hectares in what were once forest lands devoid of greenery. As one traverses through the length and breadth of the five mandals adopted by Social, Education and Development Society (SEDS) in the Penukonda revenue division, it is unbelievable that such massive forestation work has been done by a low profile NGO founded by Rajan Joshuva from Kerala and Manil Jayasena Joshuva from Malaysia.
They both met in Anantapur district and by providence got married. Soon after their marriage, they settled in a remote village called Anandapuram in Penukonda mandal and by their hard work and sheer dedication they built a set-up which uplifted the underprivileged on the educational, social and environmental front.
“We faced stiff resistance and blind opposition to the forestation drive from the locals. They cut down the trees planted by us and offered no cooperation as we opposed tree felling by the locals; but our persistence, perseverance and patience paid off and ultimately they began to understand the seriousness of our cause,” said Rajan Joshuva, executive director of SEDS.
SEDS was not only able to successfully raise 2.2 million living trees in the five mandals, but were able to transform every villager into an environmental policeman. Today if any outsider came with any ulterior motive , the villagers act as policemen and drive them away, Mr. Joshuva remarked.
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