Jagatsinghpur, May 15 (LocalWire): The villagers of Purana village under Biridi block mourned the loss of a 500-year-old banyan tree which was uprooted by Fani but were angry because neither the administration nor the tourist department visited to assess its loss.
Former sarpanch of Purana, Yudhister Behera said, ‘We sought the intervention of the President, Prime Minister, Chief Minister of Odisha and other higher officials of tourism department but no one helped to protect this tree.
There was lack of awareness among the public about such an old tree in this village.’
‘This 500-year-old banyan tree was spread across 3 acres of land with about 700 trunks and sub-trunks. It has thousands of aerial roots reaching down to the ground as prop roots.
One of the country’s oldest banyan tree withstood the devastating 1999 super cyclone but Fani has brought huge loss to this banyan tree,’ he added.
A 200 year-old Budhi Jagulai temple is still intact at the spot. The temple is also a reminder of the historic importance of the place. On every Wednesday and Saturday, rural haat (market) is held under this tree in which hundreds of people go about doing business. A small bazar also functioned under this tree.
The rituals of Goddess Budhi Jagulai has been stopped since ten days because no one has visited this spot or not taken any steps to clear the debris of this tree.
President of Banyan Tree Surakhya Committee, Manoj Das, said ‘this tree was our village’s biggest identity. The village mourns a deeper loss, the destruction of their beloved banyan tree that now lies shackled by its own branches, twisted by the mighty gales of Fani. The tree was home to many birds, insects and small animals. We’ve lost everything.
No authority has visited us so far so we have appealed the administration for the protection of this tree’.
District tourist officer-in-charge, Niroda Sahu, confessed ‘there is no proposal to accord this place as tourist spot.
It is the duty of forest and horticulture department to assess the loss of this tree and clean the debris of this tree so department has no fund for the protection of this tree’.
There are numbers of old banyan trees in India like 500 years-old great banyan tree at Indian Botanic Garden, Kolkata, second largest gigantic banyan tree in Ranthambore, Rajasthan, 450-years-old Adyar Banyan Tree in Chennai, 300-year-old banyan tree on the island of Kabirvad in Gujarat, Banyan tree called Kalpabata in the premises of Jagannath Temple in Puri, giant Banyan of Majhi near Lucknow and the Pillalamarri Banyan tree in Telangana.
The villagers rued that among the list of old and mighty banyan trees in the country, why did the one at Purana not get space?