Man in khaki with a green heart

Man in khaki with a green heart

For H N Siddanna, his dress was khaki when in police service, but his heart was always green. He left a green trail wherever he was posted in his 40 years of service. 

He has created forest property worth crores of rupees for the government by planting more than a lakh trees in Shimoga district, besides in the barren North Karnataka districts of Koppal, Bagalkot and Haveri. But, more than that, he has contributed his mite in reducing the carbon footprint.

It came almost as an instinct for Siddanna to plant saplings wherever he saw vacant land. The officer, who retired as the Haveri Superintendent of Police (SP), is spending the evening of his life in Mysore. 

He hails from Chikkabagilu village of Malavalli taluk in Mandya district. But he was brought up and had his education in Kodagu district. The enchanting woods of the Western Ghats there had a lasting impression on him and he took afforestation as a cherished goal of his life.

Siddanna did not forget the saplings after he planted them. He ensured they grew up into full-fledged trees. 

He came to Haveri as the SP in 2004 and in the three years of his tenure, he has grown more than 15,000 trees there. Siddanna grew sandalwood, teak, neem, coconut, honge, acacia and other trees at 32 places, including the office of the SP, the eight taluk police stations, sub-stations, outposts and police quarters in the district.
 The once vacant land on the premises of the Akki Alur station alone is today a park of 2,000 teakwood trees in full bloom. Thanks to Siddanna’s efforts as Bagalkot SP, a five-acre empty land in Mudhol now has 500 neem trees.    

However, the officer’s efforts were not solitary in nature. He received able support from many colleagues in the department and his wife Jayalakshmi. Another of Siddanna’s noble gestures is that he has named the parks he has created after honest and efficient officers in the department of the rank of DG, IGP and DIG. 

Siddanna has shown that even a rocky terrain can be turned into a garden provided one has the will and the dedication to nurse and water the saplings regularly.

May Siddanna’s tribe increase at a time when a land-hungry society chops down trees and clears green cover with impunity.

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