Lifestyle Environment 27 Apr 2016 Green activists save ...

Green activists save 150-year tree from axe

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Apr 27, 2016, 7:10 am IST
Updated Apr 27, 2016, 7:10 am IST
Architect G Shankar, a member of the Tree Monitoring Committee, speaks at the protest march against the cutting of the tamarind tree at Kunnupuram near GPO on Tuesday. (Photo: A.V. MUZAFAR)
 Architect G Shankar, a member of the Tree Monitoring Committee, speaks at the protest march against the cutting of the tamarind tree at Kunnupuram near GPO on Tuesday. (Photo: A.V. MUZAFAR)

Thiruvananthapuram: Monday could have been the last day of the shade-giving tamarind, which according to some, has lived over 150 years. Thompson Lawrence, who lives nearby, said, “Over the past few days, shops have been razed for road widening. When they came for the tree, we put up resistance and they went away.”

A social activist, he quickly informed like-minded friends who gathered under the tree for a protest on Tuesday. However, PWD, which has undertaken the widening of the Kunnumpuram-Ayurveda College Road, denies having given any instruction for cutting trees.

“We have to get concurrence from Social Forestry to cut trees, and we are yet to apply for the same. No one has been asked to cut the tree before that,” said a PWD official. Anitha S., the coordinator of Tree Walk, says it is difficult to determine the age of tropical trees like this one, but a tamarind is valuable for its carbon sequestration capacity.

“A study published in the Indian Journal of Scientific Research in 2013 analysed the carbon storage of 25 valuable tree species. It was found that a fully grown tamarind absorbs more than 50,000 kg carbon in its lifetime,” she said.

Tree Walk’s study revealed that the temperature under the tamarind shade was 3-5 degree Celsius lower than the temperature outside. “It takes just a degree's rise for the heat to cause a casualty,” she said. There were three shops under the tree, one of which belonged to a person with a disability.

Seeta Dasan, who works with Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), said, “People working in the unorganised sector, especially roadside vendors, depend greatly on the shade of trees. They are the ones who are dying because of the heat wave.”

PWD officials say the ones whose land has been acquired along the stretch have been paid compensation. Architect G. Shankar, a member of Tree Monitoring Committee, confirmed that their permission has not been sought.

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