Cerebral Shangrila

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Making a Difference

To make a difference, you do not need money but definitely strong will. Outlook profiles Mr.Amit Hazra who has been striving for more than 25 years to make Kolkata a green city.

" His trees have changed the face of Calcutta's streets. Yet, he prefers to remain in the shade.He’s had to fight court cases and tolerate apathy and indifference to provide a green cover to his decrepit North Calcutta locality. And yet, twenty-six years of toil hasn’t fatigued this ‘green warrior’ who has single-handedly planted and nurtured thousands of trees that now form a green canopy over large parts of Calcutta’s concrete jungle. Especially the arterial Vivekananda Road that now sports large shade trees.

Amit Nath Hazra, 43, embarked on his mission in 1979. A grade IV employee in a private firm, he invests a large portion of his Rs 3,000 salary on Calcutta’s future. "I buy year-old saplings, plant and nurture them," says Hazra. He’s never received any monetary help and has declined awards, preferring to remain anonymous. "I have my share of well-wishers, but my detractors outnumber them," he says nonchalantly.

From the very beginning, he had to face opposition."Many people never understood what I was doing—I was purchasing saplings, digging pits along roads and planting them. For some For some unfathomable reason, people didn’t like me doing it. Under the cover of darkness, they used to destroy the fencings and uproot the saplings. People have even cut down trees that I once planted. Such incidents are painful. These trees are like my children."As Hazra saunters down Vivekananda Road, he points to every tree he has planted. Many are fully grown while others are fledglings. He has constructed concrete benches at the bases of the trees for people to take a short breather.The road is one of the very few in Calcutta that remains cool during the sweltering summer, thanks to the lush green cover courtesy Hazra.


  • calcutta could use more gentlemen like mr hazra, with all the construction and pollution around. this once green city, is now fast resembling the concrete jungles of mumbai.

    By Blogger Abhishek Chatterjee, at 12:40 PM  

  • Yes. May the tribe increase !

    By Blogger Cogito, at 10:57 PM  

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