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Updated: January 1, 2014 13:16 IST

Crane mechanic’s tall landmark

Mohamed Imranullah S.
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ENTHUSIASTIC: N.K. Partheeban standing on a tower
constructed by him around a 70-feet tall neem tree
on his home-cum-workshop premises at Ceylon
Colony in Melur Taluk of Madurai district. Photo: S. James
The Hindu ENTHUSIASTIC: N.K. Partheeban standing on a tower constructed by him around a 70-feet tall neem tree on his home-cum-workshop premises at Ceylon Colony in Melur Taluk of Madurai district. Photo: S. James

Ceylon Colony has a literally tall landmark in the form of a 70-feet-tall neem tree surrounded by an iron tower that resembles a mobile phone tower.

Ceylon Colony is a nondescript rural locality situated at about two kilometres from Melur bus stand near here. But the area has a literally tall landmark in the form of a 70-feet-tall neem tree surrounded by an iron tower that resembles a mobile phone tower.

The tree, N.K. Partheeban (43), a crane fabricator, believes would help him create a record in the New Year. He had planted the sapling on July 7, 2007 and had been growing it with great care since then. The aim is to make the tree grow over 130 feet, considered a rarity by botanists.

Born to a forester at Navalur near Tirukazhukundram in Kancheepuram district, Mr. Partheeban claims to have migrated to Melur 18 years ago in search of a job. He is a school dropout who took to building bodies for cranes and other kinds of metal fabrication.

After settling down in Melur, he purchased about 50 cents of land at Ceylon Colony in 2001 and established his home-cum-workshop. The vacant land on the premises was filled with neem saplings as he had learnt from his father that the neem tree was capable of growing over 100 feet.

“You can see that the trunk of my 70-feet-tall tree is so thin that you can hold it tight with your fist. It is because I regularly cut down the branches and the leaves that make the trunk plump and short. I let the leaves grow only on the top most portion of it,” he explains.

The tree is watered for about two hours during night hours every day with the help of five sprinklers fitted around it and guarded by the iron tower which had been fabricated by Mr. Partheeban for helping him monitor its progress.

The fabricator spends quite an amount of his time, energy and money on growing the tree.

Though some consider him to be crazy, many are more than astonished to see his efforts and determination in chasing his dreams by nurturing the tree passionately.

“I am assured of creating a record during this New Year,” he says exuberating confidence as high as his tree.

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