“This land has beautiful trees and the grandest among them was this rubber tree. Over 50 yrs old, it is actually a piece of art; its twisted air roots are a photographer’s delight” said Venu Dhingra, a CFGD member. “We approached MDDA to save these trees and even though they had got permission to fell them, they readily agreed if we helped them out technically” she revealed. Thankfully, Doon University agreed to be the new home for this massive tree and the transplant process got under way.
The Rubber tree before transplantation
The Rubber tree after transplantation in Doon University
Mr.AS Sharma, Project Director, UP Rashtriya Nirman Sansthan, the agency overseeing the project played an extremely supportive role in the transplantation process. “Being a tree lover myself, I feel very sad when trees are felled for development and when I was approached by the members of CFGD for tree transplantation I was relieved. We will try and transplant as many trees as possible here and in the Veterinary Hospital Compound in the Dispensary Road, where a parking lot is soon going to be constructed” he says.
“The technique of tree transplantation seems pretty crude, but is effective” reveals Anchal Sondhi, who has the experience of transplanting over 200 trees. “The main branches are cut, and the roots freed from the soil. The tree is then lifted out with help of cranes and transported to its new home” she informs. Students of Welham’s Girls School and Doon University also attended the entire transplantation and were given a brief background to it by Anchal. It took an hour for the branches to be lopped and then the process of freeing the roots began. When fully freed, the root ball had a massive diameter of 18 feet and its estimated weight was 16 tons. “We were all dejected when we realized that neither the crane could lift this huge tree nor any truck was big enough to carry it” remembers Venu. The day being a Sunday, getting permission for bringing in a heavy duty trawler in the city, big enough to carry the tree, would be near impossible.” Prayers and frantic calls to the MDDA VC , however, bore fruit and permission arrived within half an hour. With two heavy duty cranes the tree was finally lifted and placed on the trawler.
Taking the 16 ton tree, with 18 feet wide root ball on a 10 wheeled trawler through the serpentine roads of Dehra Dun flooded with the Sunday traffic was an experience in itself. “We took over an hour to cover the 12 km distance from Clock Tower to Doon University. We drove behind the trawler and could see the look of utter disbelief on the faces of passerby’s. ‘This is a whole tree going’, was the most common comment ” remembers Jaya Singh, a CFGD member who worked very hard during the whole process. Getting the tree off the trawler and standing erect in its new home was an equally herculean task, but finally, it was there, in its new home.
“We were overwhelmed with joy when it finally stood up. As if a blessing from Gods above, a few birds came and sat on it almost immediately. We did a small pooja of the tree and prayed to Gods that the tree survives the ordeal” Jaya says. “Given that the only other option was felling, I think we did a pretty nice job” she smiles.
“Now that this is done, we now have to get down to transplanting the other trees. This is the second tree we have transplanted, the first one being a Pilkhan tree last year” says Anjali Bhatia, another CFGD member actively involved in transplanting trees. Giving an overview of the transplantation scenario, Anjali said that the group had made repeated requests to the Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand and all other government officials to issue a Government Order to regularize transplantations in the State so that instead of being felled, trees could be transplanted as a routine, but to no avail. In absence of a GO, thousands of trees are felled in the State each year, most of which could have been saved.
Among those who helped in the process were Anjali Bhatia, Prassana Sharma, Harminder Singh, Col. (Mrs.) Pushpa Bhandari, Soorya Kant & Dr Nitin Pandey.
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