Villagers’ resolve save 400-years-old Banyan tree, Highway to change course

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Villagers' resolve save 400-years-old Banyan tree, Highway to change course - We The World Magazine

A huge 400-years-old banyan tree located in an Indian village was destined to be chopped down but was saved from being brought down by highway workers after villagers rallied against the plan and took the matter to the notice of highest authorities.

A Banyan tree who’s canopy reportedly spreads 400 Sq. m is home to many species of birds and animals. But, like many other unfortunate trees, the old wood was too destined to be brought down by the workers as it fell under the route of state highway in Sangli district of Maharashtra, Indian Express reports.

However, residents of Bhose Village – where the tree is located – rallied around the tree and the devotion for the old tree quickly spread over social media, garnering attention. The villagers themselves created several awareness groups on Facebook, according to the report.

Even at a time of pandemic when gathering at large numbers is prohibited, the villagers told Indian Express, that they gathered below the tree and staged a ‘Chipko movement’ -like protest while maintaining social distancing.

Villagers’ resolve save 400-years-old Banyan tree, Highway to change course

The Banyan tree has a huge canopy, with numerous supporting branches that descend down from the tree. The trees, being present for over three centuries is a part of many folklores, legends, and memories of the villagers.

Image courtesy of Aaditya Thackeray via Twitter (Villagers’ resolve save 400-years-old Banyan tree, Highway to change course)

It was on July 16th, state Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray wrote to Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari urging him a plan-review so that the tree could be saved.

Thackeray pointed out the cultural, historical and environmental significance of the tree that has stood there for centuries. On Friday, Thackeray tweeted that his requests have borne positive results on Twitter. “[…] I had humbly requested 2 Union Ministers and received a positive response from both to assist saving the environment,” he wrote about his request to save the tree.

As per the report, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has already started re-routing the Ratnagiri-Nagpur highway that bypasses the tree. A senior NHAI officer told on Friday, some of the tree’s branches will be trimmed.

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