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Lucknow: Green helplessness, a grand, old tree and its imminent fall

In the middle of the monsoon, it is the autumn of the patriarch — a grand old, fig tree —on the fringes of the city.

lucknow Updated: Jul 25, 2018 13:45 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lucknow,Greenery,Tree
The over 200-year-old tree is set to be chopped down to allow the widening of a road leading to the Cantonment from Subhani Khera in Telibagh.(HT Photo)

In the middle of the monsoon, it is the autumn of the patriarch — a grand old, fig tree —on the fringes of the city.

The over 200-year-old tree is set to be chopped down to allow the widening of a road leading to the Cantonment from Subhani Khera in Telibagh.

Its imminent fall has led to is an outpouring of sadness from the locals who are firmly opposed to the plan to wield the axe on the tree. They say it is a part of their life and their heritage.

Giving vent to their helplessness, they have stuck a green banner on the tree. It reads: “You braved all the odds to save us. You must have been a saviour to many generations, probably in the past 200 years or even more in rain, wind or blistering summer. But we are sorry that we couldn’t do anything to save you.”

The banner is an accurate reflection of local sentiments.

“It’s not just a tree. It’s a companion for us; for many it’s a sweet reminder of our childhood. We have grown up playing on its branches and have slept under its shade to beat the summer heat. How can we let the agencies chop it down, just to widen a road? They should find another way out but we won’t let it be chopped,” says Harishankar Shukla, a local.

Shukla says the agencies concerned have already chopped 60 trees that were coming in the way of widening the road. Some of the locals say they want development, but not at the cost of the tree.

“In this day and age, when shifting a tree is a common phenomenon, why do our agencies lag behind? We all have grown up hearing about this tree from our forefathers,” says Mohammed Shoeb.

Describing the tree as a witness to the freedom movement, he asserts the residents won’t let the construction agencies chop it down.

“We won’t let it happen,” he vows.

A couple of days ago, the locals gathered under the tree and paid tribute to it, fearing the inevitable. Some of them are also planning to meet the mayor in a bid to save the tree.

The residents say they want to resolve the issue at the local level and rule out the possibility of going to court.

Vinay Kumar, zonal officer, of the Lucknow Nagar Nigam, says the road widening work is being carried out by the public works department. However, he denies any opposition by the locals.

People familiar with the matter say the construction agency has the required permission since the work is being done for development.

First Published: Jul 25, 2018 13:45 IST