Maharashtra government to conserve over 100-year-old trees

Updated: 15 September, 2020 08:16 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

It has also been stated that the Forest Department with the help of nature lovers/ NGOs should prepare a database of such heritage trees in Maharashtra so that they can be conserved

The govt has asked locals, NGOs to conduct a survey of old trees along with Forest Dept. Reresentation pic
The govt has asked locals, NGOs to conduct a survey of old trees along with Forest Dept. Reresentation pic

The Maharashtra Forest Department has decided to collect data of heritage trees across the state and has asked citizens, environment lovers and NGOs to conduct a survey for the same.

On August 18, principal chief conservator of forest – social forestry sent a letter to the Conservator of Forest – Social Forestry at Pune/Thane/Nashik/Nagpur/Amravati and Aurangabad. The letter stated that heritage trees that are more than 100 years old have a huge significance in Indian culture and the need of the hour was to protect and conserve them.

It has also been stated that the Forest Department with the help of nature lovers/ NGOs should prepare a database of such heritage trees in Maharashtra so that they can be conserved.

In July this year, Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray had written to Union Minister for Road and Transport Nitin Gadkari requesting him to tell the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to save a 400-year-old Banyan tree near Bhose village at Sangli in front of the Yellama Goddess temple.

NHAI was preparing to cut down the tree for the Ratnagiri-Kolhapur-Miraj-Solapur National Highway number 166 project. However, following Thackeray's request, Gadkari told authorities to save the tree.

According to experts, a heritage tree is decided on several criteria such as size, rarity, colour, shape and most important — its age. While deciding the status of the tree, its ecological/social/cultural aspects are taken into consideration and the tree is also considered a heritage tree if it is associated with a historic event, person or place.

Environmentalists, Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti said, "It is so heartening to see old trees get protection and recognition. These trees are the actual senior citizens of our civilisation and an inseparable part of our existence. I compliment the MVA government for this initiative which will finally stop looking at trees as disposable commodities. This will also prevent conflict later on as the planners of any project will know that these trees are not collateral damage taken for granted."

Environmentalists Zoru Bhathena who has been fighting to save trees in Mumbai said, "This is such a wonderful Initiative undertaken by the Maharashtra Forest Department."

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First Published: 15 September, 2020 07:29 IST

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