Sunderlal Bahuguna, Chipko Movement leader and environmentalist activist dies of COVID-19


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Sunderlal Bahuguna, 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.

Bahuguna was admitted to the hospital on May 8 after a fluctuation in his oxygen levels was noted. According to the reports by AIIMS, Rishikesh, Bahuguna was exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus infection 10 days prior to his hospital admission. He took his last breath at 12.05 pm on May 21, 2021.

President Ram Nath Kovind condoled Bahuguna’s death stating that his death marks the end of a glorious chapter in the field of conservation. The Rashtrapati Bhavan said that Bahuguna, a ‘Padma Vibhushan’ awardee, was a Gandhian to the core.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his grief over his death. PM in a tweet termed the passing away of Sunderlal Bahuguna as a ‘monumental loss’ for the nation. He stated that Bahuguna aided the manifestation of our centuries-old ethos of living in harmony with nature. “His simplicity and spirit of compassion will never be forgotten.” PM tweeted.

Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat also expressed his condolences over the death of the Chipko movement leader and environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna.

About Sunderlal Bahuguna

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 1974 in an effort to stop afforestation 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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