He is popularly known as the Tree Man of Kashmir for planting over two lakh trees in the barren lands of the valley and the plan is to go up to one million till 2030. He is Abdul Hamid Bhat, 56 from Srinagar.
Bhat started as a scooter mechanic and now he is the owner of Rahim Motors, one of the biggest automobile workshops in Srinagar.
Besides being a big tycoon in the business Industry, his passion has always been to create Green spaces in the Kashmir Valley. He uses substantial chunk of his earnings from automobile business and invests in a venture called Rahim Greens
Bhat said that he has planted over two lakh trees in the barren lands of Kashmir and his target is over one million trees up to 2030.
Sutharan forest in central Kashmir’s Budgam district was the casualty of the deforestation after thousands of alpine trees were cut down by timber smugglers. Ten year ago Bhat decided to start afforestation there. “It gained its glory back now”
“I feel so happy. If you had visited here 10 years ago, it was like a desert, all trees were cut down, only five to 10 trees were left. Today it’s a lush green forest,” said Bhat.
“I don’t have any fund-raising system nor any NGO. I am spending from personal earnings, ad a concept of common man’s social responsibility, whatever you earn or learn what you will return to society,” he said.
For his mission of million trees, he has now tied up with Sher-E-Kashmir Agriculture University and started alpine nursery which will provide one lakh saplings every year.
“Anyone comes here sees a difference. Now I have collaborated with the agriculture university. They have provided land and I’m growing nursery there,” he said.“The same people who were timber smugglers in the past have come forward to support the plantation mission. They see a hope that afforestation is bringing the area on tourism map,” he said.
The journey of Bhat has been very tough, but what keeps him going is the passion to plant more and more trees. “I will continue to do so”