Environmentalist, Chipko movement leader Sundarlal Bahuguna dies of COVID-19

Rishikesh: Renowned environmentalist and Chipko movement leader Sundarlal Bahuguna succumbed to COVID-19 infection at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh on Friday.

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“Chipko movement leader Sundarlal Bahuguna died of COVID-19 at AIIMS, Rishikesh today,” the AIIMS Rishikesh informed.

The 94-year-old, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Shri awardee was admitted to the hospital after his oxygen levels started fluctuating on May 8.

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat mourned the demise of an environmental activist and prayed for peace to the departed soul.

“Received the most painful news of the demise of Sundarlal Bahuguna, the pioneer of the Chipko movement, Padma Vibhushan, a great environmentalist famously known as Vrikshamitra in the world. My mind is very distressed after hearing this news. This is an irreparable loss not only to Uttarakhand but to the entire country,” tweeted the Chief Minister.

He said the efforts of Bahuguna, who made the issues of water, forest, and land his priority, and fought for people’s rights, will always be remembered.

“He was awarded the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 1986 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2009 for his significant contribution in the field of environmental protection. In the field of environmental protection, Sunderlal Bahuguna’s works will be written in golden letters in history,” Rawat added.

The environmentalist had fought for the preservation of forests in the Himalayas for years.

He is hugely credited for the success of the Chipko movement that began in 1973 at the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand (then a part of Uttar Pradesh).

The environment activist was also actively involved in the Anti-Tehri Dam movement.

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