Balipara Foundation Celebrates Awardees of 2015
List of the winners of Balipara Foundation Awards in 2015
The Balipara Foundation Nature Conservancy Award – Panchan Lakhar Community Conserved Area Management Committee – (PLACCAMC)
The local communities in and around forests are the real stakeholders and are best equipped to protect the forests and its wildlife and their involvement is extremely crucial. The villagers of the Kharman and Kyalegteng in Arunachal Pradesh are a testimony to this fact. In 2011, these villagers, inspired by the idea of Community Conserved Area approached the Tata Trusts and WWF – India for technical and financial support in demarcating 85 sq. km. of Unclassed State Forest land as the Pangchen Lakhar Community Conserved Area (PLACCA). The PLACCA comprises Panchayat members, village elders and youth who work for the conservation and management of their verdant forests, thereby securing the habitats of endangered red pandas, musk deer, serow, goral, Himalayan black bears, Siberian weasels, leopards and wild dogs. PLACCAMC has been encouraging the villagers to revive their dependency on agriculture and put into practice some of the pilot mitigation techniques to combat human-wildlife conflicts. For PLACCAMC’s foresight and unified efforts in conservation, the team was awarded The Balipara Foundation Nature Conservancy Award.
The Balipara Foundation Young Naturalist Award - Thingnam Girija
Thingnam Girija’s love for flowers and children is evident through her work as a teacher working with autistic children. But it is her lifelong passion for flowers that led her to create a one-of-its-kind website www.flowersofindia.net along with Dr. Tabish Qureshi, a physics professor at Jamia Millia. The duo undertook this endeavour when they realized that there was little to no information available online about India’s floral heritage. The project took the duo across the terrains of north and northeast India to photograph and study flowers. They, then painstakingly put together the website. Today, this is an ongoing community project, a forum for flower enthusiasts across the country to send in photographs and information. All the work behind maintaining, upgrading and contributing to the website is done on a voluntary basis, with a sole purpose of disseminating information. Thingnam was also awarded the Young Achiever Award in 2010 in New Delhi by the North-East Centre for Environmental Education and Research (NECEER). For her exceptional initiative, Thingnam Girija was awarded The Balipara Foundation Young Naturalist Award.
The Balipara Foundation Naturenomics Award – Richard Belho
An architect by profession, Richard Belho was keen to provide avenues to promote art and culture while protecting the environment. In 2002, he set up Zynorique, a Bengaluru-based firm along with Kezhagwetuo (Ato) Peseyie to impart training and employable skills to the local youth of Nagaland. Through the organization he aims to inspire and motivate youth to protect the environment and create awareness about Nagaland’s art and culture. Over the last decade, through Zynorique, Richard and his team have worked on several initiatives with the goal of empowering the people of Nagaland. For his unique efforts, Richard Belho was awarded The Balipara Foundation Naturenomics Award.
The Balipara Foundation Naturenomics Award – Rupjyoti Saikia
Rupjyoti Saikia’s efforts to provide training, and other facilities to local weavers led to a movement that saw M / S Artistic Traditional Textile being established in Bochagaon. This has been beneficial to rural women and helped them become financially independent. Saikia continues to conduct training programmes for women artisans on design implementation, surface ornamentation, new techniques and modern market trends. She enables sales through her boutique ‘Kaziranga Haat’ in Bochagaon and also reaches out to suppliers around the country. Her products are also sold through exhibitions locally and nationally. Her textile and other ventures such as a restaurant Rup’s Kitchen and NGO Farm 2 Food Foundation has seen the employment and empowerment of more than 200 unemployed youth and underprivileged women. For her unstinting efforts in the upliftment of rural women and youth, she was awarded The Balipara Foundation Naturenomics Award.
The Balipara Foundation Eastern – Himalaya Conservation Award – Khanchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC)
In 1996, out of shared concern for the sensitive biodiversity of the rich Khangchendzonga mountain ecosystem, the community-based Khanchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC) was born in Yuksam in west Sikkim. A tight, solid team of wildlife enthusiasts, community leaders, students and teachers, KCC is devoted to protecting and conserving the ecosystem with a well thought out, multi-pronged approach. They organize environmental education programmes to educate the rural masses and the youth, the future flag bearers of the community. They also provide training, capacity building exercises and most importantly work to provide sustainable livelihoods that will make the locals less dependent on the resources of the Mt. Khangchendzonga landscape. For their undying commitment to conserve this mountain ecosystem of Sikkim, the KCC was awarded The Balipara Foundation Eastern-Himalaya Conservation Award.
The Balipara Foundation Green Guru Award – Nimesh Ved
Under Nimesh Ved’s leadership, Samrakshan, a non-profit organization has been working towards conservation education and capacity building for over a decade. His organization has collaborated with local communities to secure the Balpakram-Baghmara landscape which is now identified as a top priority elephant corridor. He also undertook staff training and surveys to help establish the Tokalo Wildlife Sanctuary, which was subsequently notified. His undying perseverance in providing and taking conservation education to the remotest corners of the Northeast is truly commendable. Recently, the Mizoram Forest Department invited him to provide his expertise and guidance to resolve conservation issues in the Dampa Tiger Reserve. Nimesh is currently working on highlighting the palm oil menace in the region. For his tireless efforts, he was awarded The Balipara Foundation Green Guru Award.
The Balipara Foundation Food for Future Award – Dr. K.M. Bujabaruah
K.M. Bujabaruah’s meritorious career in various capacities ranging from a scientist to the Director of National Research Centre and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Research Complex for Northeastern Hill Region and Deputy Director General (Animal Sciences), ICAR, New Delhi have seen him contribute immensely to the improvement of agricultural technology and practices in the Northeast. Blessed with a good scientific and administrative acumen, he introduced sustainable agricultural technologies to the farming community throughout the Northeast. He organized the first ever International Conference on Organic Farming in 2004, and is a true champion of health and sustainability. He has been conferred with several prestigious awards for his work including the Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed Award, Jewel of Sikkim Award and Distinguished Veterinarian Award. For his exemplary scientific contribution, Dr. Bujarbaruah is recognised as a fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and fellow of National Academy of Veterinary Science. For his distinct scientific contribution to agriculture Dr. K.M. Bujabaruah was awarded The Balipara Foundation Food for Future Award.
The Balipara Foundation Green Legal Award – Ritwick Dutta
Ritwick Dutta’s love for India’s wilds manifested early in his life and an insuppressible urge to protect those very wilds led him to become an environmental lawyer. Having a degree in sociology, a law degree from the University of Delhi and a Diploma in Environmental Law from the Centre of Environmental Law, WWF – India, he believes his true training and understanding of the scenario came from travelling extensively around the country. To tackle the main culprits of environmental degradation - dams, mines and deforestation, he along with Rahul Choudhury, Environment lawyer, founded the Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE). Today he is the most active lawyer of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) brigade which was setup in 2010. He is also a member of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), a select global network of environmental lawyers, where Ritwick has served as an investigator for TRAFFIC India to delve into the illegal trade in CITES – listed species. He has been serving as a legal advisor to the Wildlife Trust of India and the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO). For bravely dedicating his life to fighting environmental injustices, he was awarded The Balipara Foundation Green Legal Award.
The Balipara Foundation Annual Award – Achintya Kumar Sinha
Achintya Kumar Sinha began his career with the Indian Forest Service when he joined the Tripura Rehabilitation and Plantation Corporation Limited (TRPC) in 1989. During his tenure at the Divisional Forest Office, Ambasa, he involved the forest staff, a local youth group and the Voluntary Health Association of Tripura to revive a patch of deforested land. This was probably Northeast India’s first ever Joint Forest Management (JFM) project, making Tripura the eighth Indian state to embrace JFM. Among his inexhaustible and notable list of his achievements are his work to rehabilitate shifting cultivators belonging to a primitive tribe, rationalizing the timber accounting system and capacity building in various Protected Areas. For his dedicated service to India’s forests, Achintya Kumar Sinha was awarded The Balipara Foundation Annual Award.
The Balipara Foundation Annual Award – Biodiversity And Nature Conservation Network (BIOCONE)
BIOCONE is only five years old, having been officially launched in October 15, 2010 in Mizoram and has since then quickly garnered a strong reputation as a supporter of Mizoram’s wilderness areas. The organization believes in covering a lot of ground through education, outreach programmes including forest and lake clean up drives, awareness programmes and field work such as building and using nest boxes for birds. BIOCONE’s systematic approach at the grassroot level has truly made a difference and hence was awarded The Balipara Foundation Annual Award.
The Balipara Foundation Special Award – Forest Guard Award – Namita Kalita
Namita Kalita – Posted at Ghorakati Range under Kaziranga Park, Namita has proven her mettle on several occasions braving the difficult conditions of the park. Her drive and zeal have led her to show great initiative and excellent leadership qualities. Her dedication was once again highlighted when she tirelessly engaged in rescue efforts during the floods that engulfed Kaziranga recently. For her courage and commitment, Namita Kalita was awarded The Balipara Special Award – Forest Guard Award.
The Balipara Foundation Special Award – Forest Guard Award – Dharmistha Medhi Das
Dharmistha Medhi Das – Dharmistha is posted in the Bonda Forest Camp under the Guwahati Wild Life Division and is sincere, brave forest guard who stands out in Kaziranga’s already impressive patrolling line up. She has shown tremendous leadership qualities and presence of mind during her patrolling duties. Her contribution to conservation of the Bonda area is indispensable. For her brave and sincere service, Dharmistha Medhi Das was awarded The Balipara Special Award – Forest Guard Award.
The Balipara Foundation Special Award – Forest Guard Award – Pema Thinley
Pema Thinley – Pema Thinley’s multifaceted contribution to conservation through his work as Range Officer in different beats in Bhutan has proven to be invaluable. He has been providing law enforcement and technical guidance to farmers and local government bodies in matters of wildlife and forestry and working to implement human-wildlife conflict mitigation measures. Today, he works as a Range Officer in Tashichholing Range of Samste, Bhutan under the Department of Forest and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Thimphu. For Pema Thinley’s noteworthy contribution to Bhutan’s wildlife, he was conferred with The Balipara Special Award – Forest Guard Award.
The Balipara Foundation Special Award – Forest Guard Award – Amar Sing Deka
Amar Sing Deka – Courageous and fearless. These adjectives aptly describe Amar Sing Deka’s 25 years of forest service in Kaziranga. Amar first joined Kaziranga National Park as a Home Guard in the late 1990s, and was almost fatally attacked by a buffalo while on duty. But, soon after recovery, he was back in Kaziranga, as a casual worker on protection duty, risking his life fighting poachers. Nothing could keep him away from his beloved park and he continues to protect it with equal zeal even today, in the capacity of a Forest Guard in Western Range, Bagori under Eastern Assam Wildlife Division. His immense knowledge of wildlife and commitment to protecting the park make him an invaluable asset. For his valiant efforts, Amar Sing Deka was awarded The Balipara Special Award – Forest Guard Award.
The Balipara Foundation Special Award – Forest Guard Award – Rajen Panika
Rajen Panika – Rajen Panika’s dedication and tireless service to protection and conservation of Kaziranga has truly made a difference. He joined the Forest Department of Kaziranga National Park in December of 1992 and since then his alert and intuitive presence has helped save several rhinos from being poached. Today he serves as a Forest Guard in Kaziranga. For Rajen Panika’s continued significant efforts to protect Indian rhinos, he was awarded The Balipara Special Award – Forest Guard Award.
The Balipara Foundation Special Award – Forest Guard Award – Sontush A. Sangma
Sontush A. Sangma – Thirty years of dedicated service to the Garo Hills of Meghalaya define Sontush A. Sangma’s inspiring career and life. And over the years, his enthusiasm, passion and love for the wilds haven’t waned. He joined the Meghalaya Forest Department in 1985 as a muster roll employee, and today serves as a Forest Guard of Gateman rank in the Balpakram Division, Garo Hills. He has worked on numerous beats and has faced-off with illegal loggers, militants and poachers, always maintaining a calm and steady demeanor, leading his team from the front and ensuring their safety. His name arouses respect and admiration among his colleagues and all those acquainted with him. For Sontush A. Sangma’s incredible service to Meghalaya’s wildlife, he was conferred with The Balipara Special Award – Forest Guard Award.
The Balipara Foundation Lifetime Service Award – B.M. Khaitan
B.M. Khaitan, the doyen of the tea industry is known throughout the country for his ethical and moral values and philanthropic way of life. His ingenious move of acquiring tea companies in Assam when several of the big players diluted their interest in plantations, ensured that the tea estates were in safe hands, before those with short-term ulterior motives could lay their hands on them. He has always given special importance to the preservation of natural habitats in and around the tea estates and has been involved in various programmes and initiatives to conserve biodiversity of the surrounding areas. He has helped carry out several much-needed soil conservation programmes. His invaluable support extended to the Assam Valley WildLife Society helped the Pygmy Hog and White Wood Duck conservation programmes that saw the revival of the almost disappearing populations of these species. Even today, at the age of 89 years, he shows incredible vision, zeal and enthusiasm to his work towards industry, environment, society and humanitarian issues. For B.M. Khaitan’s lifetime of magnanimous efforts towards conservation, he was conferred with The Balipara Lifetime Service award.
|1||Nature Conservancy Award||Panchan Lakhar Community Conserved Area Management Committee (PLACCAMC), Arunachal Pradesh, Community Read More..||Dhruba Jyoti Saikia|
|2||Young Naturalist Award||Thingnam Girija, Manipur Read More..||Ranjana Saikia|
|3||Naturenomics™ Award||Richard Belho, Nagaland Read More.. & Rupjyoti Saikia Gogoi, Assam Read More..||Tanushree Hazarika|
|4||Eastern - Himalayan Conservation Award||Khanchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC), Sikkim, Community Read More..||Somi Roy|
|5||Green Guru Award||Nimesh Ved, Meghalaya Read More..||Roshmi Goswami|
|6||Food for Future Award||K. M. Bujarbaruah, Assam Read More..||Dr. Kamal Bawa|
|7||Green Legal Award||Ritwick Dutta, New Delhi Read More..||Hasina Kharbhih|
|8||Annual Award||Achintya Kumar Sinha, Tripura Read More.. & BIOCONE - Biodiversity And Nature Conservation Network, Mizoram Read More..||Vivek Menon|
|9||Special Award - Forest Guard
|Namita Kalita, Assam Read More..||Sonam Wanchuck|
|10||Dharmistha Medhi Das, Assam Read More..|
|11||Pema Thinley, Bhutan Read More..|
|12||Amar Sing Deka, Assam Read More..|
|13||Rajen Panika, Assam Read More..|
|14||Sontush A. Sangma, Meghalaya Read More..|
|15||Lifetime Service Award||B. M. Khaitan Read More..||V.K. Pipersenia|