Uttarakhand’s ‘Tree Man’ dies

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Conservationist Vishweshwar Dutt Saklani, fondly known as Uttarakhand’s ‘Vriksha Manav’ or ‘Tree Man’, as he is thought to have planted about five million trees, died at the age of 96 on Friday.

Saklani, who belong to Tehri Garhwal district of the state, planted the first tree when he was eight years old. Over the course of his life, he turned barren parts of the district filled with lush green trees.

In 1986 he was awarded the Indira Priyadarshini Award by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“A decade ago, he lost his eyesight because mud and pebbles went into his eyes while planting trees. But, that did not deter him. Even without eyesight, he planted thousands of trees,” his son Santosh Swaroop Saklani, who works at the Governor’s Office, said, as mentioned in Hindustan Times.

The father of nine children, he planted trees to deal with the grief of the death of his brother’s and later wife’s.

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