100-Yr-Old Banyan Tree Uprooted For Road Widening Gets New Lease Of Life In Odisha Capital

OB Bureau

Bhubaneswar: A 100-year-old banyan tree uprooted for road widening work in the Odisha capital has got a new lease of life in its new abode. In less than three months after translocation, new leaves have started appearing on the tree bringing a smile to the faces of Forest officials, environmentalists as well as locals.

In a joint effort by Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and Forest Department, the tree was translocated from near the Mancheswar Railway market to Kelucharan Park.

Botanist Ashokanand Dhar told media that they decided to translocate the tree as it was old and locals had emotions attached to it. “The tree was at a corner of the new road that was being constructed. Work had stopped because of the tree. But as it was an old tree we were in a dilemma what should we do? After discussions with all the line departments, we decided to translocate it. The place for the translocation was identified and the area was cleaned up for translocation.”

“When we uprooted the tree we found that it was 7-8 feet below the earth and so in the new place, we dug a 10 feet pit to replant the tree. We ensured that the earth ball did not break and there was no termite and fungus attack after translocation.  So we put organic fertilizers and neem in the base and even after replanting the tree, for about 15-20 days we kept watching which part of the root is regenerating and which is dying. After that we covered the roots with mud,” said Dhar.

Mayor Sulochana Das told media that the tree was an obstruction in the construction of the 200 feet road so it had to be uprooted. “Seeing new leaves and branches emerging from the tree is a pleasure,” she said.

“We were scared that as the roots of banyan tree develop laterals, it would be a challenge to translocate it along with the mud. It was like an experiment for us. You can see new leaves in it which means the tree is trying to establish its root system,” said a Forest official.

“Because the tree is wild, we are trying to create a forest-like environment in the park. When the tree grows, it will generate more oxygen, provide shade, and attract wildlife. We are trying to create a new and different environment in Bhubaneswar,” he added

Residents of the area are happy that BDA and Forest Department took up the challenge. “Once the branches grow, the tree will look beautiful and give us oxygen to breathe,” said a resident of the locality.

OB Bureau

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