Rich tributes pour on the birth anniversary of the conservationist and freedom fighter Vishveshwar Dutt Saklani

The trees planted by tree man Vishveshwar Dutt Saklani provide valuable Oxygen during the Covid pandemic

Ajay Ramola
GG News Bureau
Dehradun, 3rd June.  The people from all walks of life including nature lovers paid rich tribute to the conservationist and freedom fighter Vishveshwar Dutt Saklani who was fondly known as tree man (Vriksh Manav) on Wednesday.
Tree Man, Vishveshwar Dutt Sakalani, a resident of Pujar village in Tehri district by planting more than a million trees over thousands of acres of land has created a vast forest on the barren area in Saklana region and this forest is working as an Oxygen bank thus providing relief to the villagers around during the Covid times.
Visheshwar Dutt Saklani when alive use to say that “three-kilogram spade is my pen, the earth is my book, plants are my words, and I have written a green history on this earth”.
Vishveswar Dutt Saklani was born on June 2, 1922, in Pujar village. The tree man had the spirit of nurturing nature by planting trees, a legacy that was passed down to him by his ancestors. He started planting trees from the age of eight and the chain of planting trees continued as he grew older. Vishveswar Dutt Saklani and his elder brother Nagendra Sakalani participated extensively in the freedom struggle. They both went to jail on several occasions. Nagendra Sakalani was martyred during the freedom struggle. Vishveshwar attachment to the trees and after this tragedy his purpose of life became tree plantation. Holding a satchel in his shoulder, a spade on his hand, he was engrossed in sowing the seeds of a multi-useful species of bamboo, Cedar, Guava, and broad-leaved trees.
Santosh Saklani, son of Tree Man points out that more than 50 lakh trees were planted in about 1200 hectares in the Saklana belt. These include Bamboo, Rhododendrons, Kafal and cedar trees. In 1986, Rajiv Gandhi also conferred the Indira Gandhi Environment Award for his work. Trees Man always said that trees are my God, these are my children.
Vishveshwar Dutt Saklani lost his eyesight a decade or two ago due to mud pebbles that entered into his eyes while planting trees, but he continued the plantation work without faltering even for a moment. Saklani single-handedly regenerated over a hundred-hectare in the barren land in Saklana and that area has now transformed into a lush green forest that is providing precious oxygen that is in great demand these days due to the Covid pandemic.
Vishveswar Dutt Saklani used to say that the forest is the only factory that continuously provides oxygen, that too free of cost and we should ensure that the forests are saved at any cost if we want the regular supply of Oxygen.
The conservationists have been inspired by his love and passion for environmental preservation.
Raj Mohan Seshamani, Founder, Sustainable Green Initiative, working in the area from 2017 said, “He did what was once considered impossible in one of the most barren areas in Uttarakhand. He teaches us that no effort is small when it comes to working for the environment.”
The locals said that when one sits under the shades of the trees here, they are reminded of the herculean effort made by Vishveshwar Dutt Saklani or fondly called Vriskh Maanav.

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