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Standing tall, with some help

If you are one of those people who does not care much about the environment, here is a story that should make you want to turn over a new leaf, writes Raju Gusain.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2007 03:56 IST

If you are one of those people who does not care much about the environment, here is a story that should make you want to turn over a new leaf.

Scientists at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun recently conducted surgery on a great big pine tree. What makes this tree special is that it is the tallest pine tree in all of Asia.

The tree towers over Kiroli Tappad village in Tons forest division of Uttarkashi district and is a big part of the heritage of the place. But it was in danger of dying as the basal portion of the stem had started rotting.

To save the tree and keep it healthy and green, scientists removed the rotten part and filled the hollow that was formed with cement concrete mixture. They fixed iron rods to provide support to the stem. The post-surgery report says that the tree will stand tall for many more years to come:

Dr AN Shukla, head of the forest pathology division of the Forest Research Institute, said: “The tree is 60.65 meters tall and its circumference is 2.70 meters. It is almost 230 years old and with this operation, we expect the tree to survive another 40 to 50 years if it is not hit by any natural calamity — like a storm or an earthquake.”

The tree, which has been declared ‘Mahavriksh’ by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, holds special importance for the people of Kiroli Tappad village. “It is considered sacred by the local people and as a ritual to this wonder of nature, they offer coins,” said Laxman Singh Rawat, deputy conservator of forest, Tons Forest Division.

Email Raju Gusain: rajugusain@gmail.com