Renowned environmental activist and former Indian Forest Service official Manoj Misra breathed his last at 12.40pm on Sunday, leaving behind a legacy of battles fought to protect precious forests and rivers. He was 68. Misra, who tested positive for COVID-19 on April 8, had been under treatment since April 10.

The conservation community, including members of the Indian Forest Service fraternity, mourned his death and paid tribute to his tireless efforts to protect forests and rivers.

Born in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, Misra’s early life was shaped by his love of nature and the environment. He continued his education at Pant Nagar University in Uttarakhand and later at Allahabad University.

In 1979, he joined the Indian Forest Service. He belonged to the Madhya Pradesh cadre and served in various positions across the country. Misra opted for voluntary retirement in 2001. In 2007, he founded the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan Movement, a movement dedicated to reviving the river.

While pollution in the Yamuna River became a national concern in 1994, it was Misra’s leadership that highlighted the ecological flow and floodplains of the river. Known for his humility, Misra has actively fought against deforestation, illegal mining and pollution using legal means to protect natural resources. His legal battles to save forests and rivers have gained widespread recognition.

Misra has fought several legal battles to protect the Yamuna River and its floodplains, taking a stand against the construction of a metro station (2007), the Millennium Bus Depot (2011), dumping of construction debris (2012), covering storm drains (2013), pollution in the Hendon River (2014). ), building an elevated road without an environmental study (2015) and a cultural festival organized by Art of Living (March 2016).

The efforts of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, led by Misra, led to the National Green Tribunal calling for the gradual renewal of the river in 2015. Until his hospitalization, Misra continued to fight for the preservation of the Yamuna and its floodplains. In April, he wrote to the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, requesting action against an illegal cricket stadium and academy operating in the floodplains near the DND flight path.

Misra’s relentless efforts to protect the river and its floodplains had a profound impact. According to Sudha, a member of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, “Without Sir (Misra), the floodplains we see today in Delhi would not exist. Concrete infrastructure, including helipads and five-star hotels, would have been erected on the site.” “.

Misra’s death leaves a void in the conservation movement as he was seen as a one-man army in the fight to protect the Yamuna River. She said his dedication and unwavering commitment to the cause is an inspiration to all who strive for a greener and more sustainable future. As news of his death spread, tributes poured in from environmentalists, colleagues and fans, acknowledging the significant contributions Misra had made throughout his life.

“His unwavering determination to protect the environment and his essential role in preserving the Yamuna River and its floodplains will be remembered as a lasting legacy. He took me under his wing. He was like my father. He was like my father. On issues related to large rivers and communities, I am saddened that he could not see Yamuna ‘Nirmal’ during his lifetime to scale water infrastructure such as dams.

Congress Leader and former Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh expressed his grief over Misra’s passing and said, “So sad to learn of the passing of Manoj Misra, a tireless environment activist.

He was particularly passionate about protecting rivers and spent most of his time reviving the Yamuna River. “He helped me draft the first set of rules for the River Regulatory District, modeled after the Coastal Regulatory Area rules. Unfortunately, we still don’t have enforceable RRZ rules.” Delhi Governor VK Saxena, who chairs the high-level panel of the recently formed National Green Court to monitor works for Yamuna’s rejuvenation, also expressed his shock and anguish at Misra’s “demise”.

“He remained a warrior for the environmental cause and a son of the Yamuna, constantly striving to revive it. His death leaves us bereft of a valuable fellow traveler on the path of Yamuna’s rejuvenation,” Saxena said on Twitter.

(This story was not edited by the News18 staff and was published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)


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