Marked for felling due to road widening, this 28yr old tree was planted by Bali Ram, a barber, who had since then used the tree as his shop, shaving beards and cutting hair of innumerable people under its shady canopy. “This tree is my son” said an emotionally choked Bali Ram “and I was dreading the day when it will be chopped. Now I can relax”.
“We came to know about these trees recently.” said Dr Nitin Pandey, a member of CFGD and “we approached ASP Sweety Agarwal, who is a tree lover and she got us the permission to transplant it into the Police land nearby. We are thankful to SSP Dehradun, Abhinav Kumar, for giving us the permission. We have also been lucky to receive support from nearly all government departments, without which this transplant would not have been successful, right from the Forest Department to PWD and Electricity Department all lent us a helping hand.”
The transplantation was done under the guidance of Mrs. Anchal Sondhi, who has performed over 200 tree transplants in Pune. “Transplantation is not a difficult thing, once you know it. It costs around Rs 7000 and should be the norm instead of tree felling. Even people who plan to build a house can spend this small amount if a tree stands in their plot in the ‘wrong’ place” she added. “Trees with tap roots like Mango & Eucalyptus cannot be transplanted as it is difficult to save the root which is as deep as the tree’s height.” she informs.
Explaining the process, Swati Singh, another CFGD member, said “The pits have to be dug a few days in advance so that sunlight could disinfect the soil. The tree is lopped, its roots freed and then with the help of a crane, it is lifted and transplanted in its new home”.
“The whole process lasted 6hrs, with nail biting parts in between” said Archana Chettri, a teacher by profession but an arid green activist. “The crane really strained as it lifted the tree and at one point, I thought it is going to topple. I nearly fainted” she said with a smile. “It was only when I saw the tree in air that I said to myself, we have done it” she added.
PWD Executive Engineer Dayanand, who visited the site, said that now that this technique has been demonstrated his organization will take up tree transplantation in a big way and will incorporate cost for this in their budgeting proposals. “This will keep the environmentalists of Doon happy and we can go on with our job” he said. Commenting on the going on, Raj Kanwar, 78yr old veteran journalist said that watching this had been a very moving experience and he wished that someone had come up with this a few years earlier, so that thousands of trees could have been saved.
After the tree was secured in its new home, the mood of onlookers and CFGD volunteers turned jubilant. Cheering broke out and everyone took turns posing with the tree for photographs. “It is so easy to take life but so difficult to save it” said a smiling Pooja Grover, 17yr old student of St. Thomas’s College. “Someone could have cut the tree in less than 10 minutes, but it took us 6hrs to save it. But we did it!”
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