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Braving Threats, Techie Transforms Barren Riverbanks Into a Lush Forest

G Srikanth from Gudiyatham in Tamil Nadu, witnessed his hometown’s greenery fade away. So, he planted over 15,000 trees across Vellore’s barren lands despite facing threats and opposition from the real estate mafia and politicians.

Braving Threats, Techie Transforms Barren Riverbanks Into a Lush Forest

A drive along the Palar river in Tamil Nadu is a scenic one. The air has a crispy freshness, and the landscape is evocative with hundreds of trees lining the road. As you drink in this view, it is fascinating to learn about the man behind it.

G Srikanth from Gudiyatham, Vellore, grew up in the lap of nature but later moved to Chennai for work. Through the years, every visit back home would sadden him as he watched the state’s rich natural legacy fading away before his eyes.

In 2017, Srikanth decided to lay the foundation for change. He began by planting 1,000 saplings in the barren wasteland that outlined the Palar riverbed. Today, over 15,000 trees stand as a testament to his dedication.

Srikanth has been successful in turning the 25-acre deteriorating landscape into a vibrant canvas that boasts three forests, all while fighting the local land mafias who wanted to have sand quarries built in the area.

“They would cut or uproot the trees the evening we planted them. Almost 800 trees were cut off by this mafia. They would threaten me over the phone, call me to their office to intimidate me, and offer me money to stay away from this land. When I was clearing the land, they threw sand at me as the entire village watched. They even threatened my family,” he adds.

Through his work, Srikanth has tried to advocate the message of how sustainability is paramount in the face of urban development.

Watch this video to know how he achieved this milestone:

Edited by Pranita Bhat

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