Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 7 (ANI): Popularly known as the "tree man of Coimbatore", Marimuthu Yoganathan, a bus conductor-cum-environmental activist on Saturday said his dream is not to get awards but "to create more Yoganathans across India".
Yoganathan while speaking to ANI said, "Getting awards is not my dream or aim. My dream is to create more Yoganathans like me across India."Yoganathan, who has reportedly planted more than four lakh saplings across Tamil Nadu, is a conductor by profession with the State Transport Corporation.
Yoganathan says he faced several hardships in his journey towards the environment.
Reportedly, Yoganathan spends 40 per cent of his salary to buy seeds and plant saplings on a land donated to him by a Non-resident Indian from the United States who saw his work.
A few days ago government officials enquired from me about a Padma Sri but I don't know why my name was not listed. Though my intention is not to get any award. If I get such awards, more people will call me to plant trees across other states too. This will fulfil my dreams," said Yoganathan.
Yoganathan who was conferred the Eco Warrior Award by the Indian government, said, "My request to have the award sent to me by post was declined. I was concerned about the train fare, the days taken for my leave, and accommodation costs in New Delhi. But, I'm glad I received the award in person from none other than the Vice President of the country."He also said, "Though I am working for this noble cause, I have faced many transfers from the transport authorities.""Now my aim is to grow five trees in a house (fruit bearing trees). But so far there has been no support either from the state government nor the central government," he added.
Recently, Yoganathan garnered appreciation for his work on social media.
A few days ago, a social media user with Twitter handle by the name @JainMaggii shared a picture of the bus conductor holding a sapling and wrote, "Marimuthu Yoganathan, a bus conductor who has planted over 3 lakh saplings in the last 30 years using his own money. Meet the 'real environmentalist'!"Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also replied to the tweet dated March 5, 2021 and said, "Inspiration on my birthday. Thank you for sharing."A known eco activist, Yoganathan has been awarded "Eco Warrior" award by Vice-President of India, 'Unsung Hero' award by wildlife film-maker Mike Pandey and film actor John Abraham in "Timberland" function held in Delhi.
Yoganathan visited around 3,743 universities, colleges, schools and industries and took classes to raise environmental awareness.
He has also been conferred with the tiltle 'Sutru Suzal Seyal Veerar' by the Tamil Nadu Government. (ANI)