A Banyan tree in Pillalamarri of Mahabubnagar district in Telangana which is said to be world’s second largest Banyan tree is under a threat. In order to make the tree survive, it has now been put on a ‘saline drip’ for rejuvenation. Just like a patient in a hospital, the tree too is being treated by injecting a chemical to extinguish it off termites.
Termites had completely infested this 700-year-old ficus tree. The forest officers have taken to the action of thrusting in the chemical shots into the failed stems of the tree as an option of last resort to keep the tree alive. The tree is now laden with various bottles of saline hanging off the infested branches.
The pests had almost affected the entire tree, after which some of its parts started falling off. It had to be closed for tourist visits from December 2017.
The chemical, Chloropyrifos, is infused in the diluted form through about a hundred saline bottles. The bottles are placed in a gap of two meters.
While speaking to TOI, Chukka Ganga Reddy, Mahabubnagar District Forest Officer, said: ”The tree is spread over more than three acres of land and part of it has fallen due to the decay of the roots and stem. With the expert opinion of retired IFS official Manoranjan Bhanja, we have started treatment and protection in three ways. We diluted the Chlorpyrifos chemical and started pushing it into the stem by keeping holes, but it didn’t work out. The solution was coming back instantly. Later we started injecting solution like a saline drip. This process has been effective. Secondly, we are watering the roots with the diluted solution to kill the termites. And in a physical method, we are building concrete structures to support the collapsing heavy branches,”
The tree will also be supported by concrete structures that will avoid falling off of heavy branches. With the help of pillars and pipes, the roots are given man-made strength.
Until now, no enquiry has been made on the officials who are guilty of negligence of the tree which is of heritage status.
The tree was guarded and maintained by the Tourism department until December. The department stated that they tried to stimulate the tree with the help of chemical treatment but in vain. Forest department then intervened into the matter and took the responsibility of maintaining and protecting the tree.
Ronald Ross, the district collector himself is looking at the revival of the tree. The district authorities have also stopped allowing tourist at the tree as a part of the healing and revitalizing.
Information & images source: timesofindia