Assam township upbeat over 200 years of banyan treeJune 2nd, 2012 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS
Pathsala (Assam), May 2 (IANS) People from all walks of life of Bajali area in this Assam township are gearing up to celebrate 200 years of a banyan tree that is spread over four bighas or about one hectare of land.
People plan to cut a huge cake under the tree on the World Environment Day June 5 to celebrate the occasion.
The banyan tree stands at Jalikhata village in the Bajali area off Pathsala township. The huge banyan tree is in the Barpeta district of lower Assam and remains a symbol of love of the local people for conservation.
“People here are very excited. We are planning a small celebration on June 5 on the World Environment Day to pay obeisance to the tree. The locals consider it as sentinel of time and as the one which has seen several generations of the locals,” said Suresh Pathak, a local resident who heads the Banyan Birthday Celebration Committee.
“There is oral history to prove that the tree has completed 200 years since it was planted,” Pathak told IANS Saturday.
“We had also sought the help of botanists from the nearby Bajali College to ascertain the age of the banyan tree. After collecting some data from the tree, they have also confirmed that the grand banyan tree is not less than 200 years old,” Pathak said.
This confirmation comes at a time when official reports have indicated that the entire northeastern region has lost about 549 square km of forest cover.
“This is a very rare occasion and we believe that the banyan tree is also the oldest tree in the region. The tree is not only important form the conservation point of view, but also important due to the traditional beliefs,” he said.
The Banyan Birthday Celebration Committee plans to demand from the state government efforts to preserve the tree scientifically, which has been facing threat of soil erosion from Kaldia river that flows near it.
“There is tremendous social relevance of the banyan tree to the local people. Besides and environmental asset, the tree is a meeting point of the local people. It stands as a mark of unity as we celebrate Assam’s most popular festival Bihu and many other festivals under the tree,” he said.
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Tags: assam, birthday celebration, botanists, celebration committee, forest cover, government efforts, hectare, locals, northeastern region, obeisance, oral history, rare occasion, sentinel, social relevance, soil erosion, state government, traditional beliefs, upbeat, walks of life, world environment day