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Meet Abdul Hamid ‘Treeman of Kashmir’, on a mission to plant 1 million trees by 2030

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Jun 28, 2022 12:00 PM

Read Time: 2 minute

Abdul Hamid Bhat who is the owner of Rahim Motors, one of the biggest automobile workshops in Srinagar, is passionate to create Green spaces in Kashmir Valley.

Abdul Hamid Bhat started as a scooter mechanic is the owner of Rahim Motors which is one of the biggest automobile workshops in Srinagar. Green space development in the Kashmir Valley is his life's work. He invests in Rahim Greens using a sizeable portion of the profits from his auto business.

Mission to plant 1 million trees by 2030

Abdul Hamid has so far planted over two lakh trees in barren lands and forest areas that have been subjected to widespread vandalism over the years. He intends to complete his mission of planting one million trees in the valley by 2030.

In Budgam district, Sutharan forest was denuded after thousands of alpine trees were cut down by timber smugglers. Ten year ago Abdul Hamid decided to start afforestation there. Today, Sutharan is restored back to its glory, a thick alpine forest has come up. Hamid says, it's all about common man's social responsibility and gives him happiness.

“I feel so happy. If you had visited here 10 years ago, it was like a desert, all trees were cut down, and only five to 10 trees were left. Today it's a lush green forest,” said Mr Hamid. “I don't have any fund-raising system or 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”.

Villagers supported and joined Hamid’s mission

But it was not possible without the support of local villagers, including reformed timber smugglers. Ghulam Mohiudin, the village head at Sutharan says after Abdul Hamid started plantation, they joined the mission and gave people a reason to grow forests.

“The people of this area had only known one thing to cut down forests. They had no concept of growing them. Then one Dr Sheikh brought Hamid Sahib here. Since 2012 Hamid Sabib started plantation of trees till 2021, we as Protection Front and also villagers supported him,” said Mr. Mohiudin .

Started Alpine nursery

The villagers’ support encouraged Abdul Hamid even more. For his mission of million trees, he has now tied up with Shere Kashmir Agriculture University and started alpine nursery which will provide one lakh saplings every year. 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.

It has been rags to riches story for Abdul Hamid, who now has 200 employees in his automobile and diesel generator business. But Mr. Hamid says growing a tree and afforestation gives him the solace.

Also Read: Jammu and Kashmir: Math teacher innovated an affordable luxury solar car and given Valley its 1st solar car

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