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Updated: March 19, 2014 22:18 IST

After tea, it’s tree per charcha!

J. R. Shridharan
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The decades-old neem tree at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium in Vijayawada. Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar
The Hindu
The decades-old neem tree at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium in Vijayawada. Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar

The possible felling of a neem tree raises concern among a cross-section of people. But some administrators felt the necessity of removing a neem tree, which was inside the enclosure. "Players are feeling inconvenient as they (dry leaves) are slippery.

After the prospects of candidates in the fray for municipal elections, the fate of decades-old neem tree at Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation Stadium is perhaps the most discussed topic among different people in the city.

Of late, there is a whisper that the tree may be felled and most do not consider it as a valid reason. The tree, which was planted in the early eighties, has been providing the much-needed shade for people, who sweat it out in the open, besides providing medicinal values through its leaves and twigs.

The recent request by the Krishna District Volleyball Association seeking a separate enclosure for the two courts was sanctioned by the District Sports Authority and a sum of Rs. 3.70 lakh was granted for the fencing work. The meshed-fence will be 10 to 12 feet high with provision for floodlights.

For administrators of volleyball the decision (to build fence) came as a shot in the arm as the game can be pursued without any hindrance.

A hindrance?

But some administrators felt the necessity of removing a neem tree, which was inside the enclosure. “Players are feeling inconvenient as they (dry leaves) are slippery. They also project a soiled look,” felt an administrator.

Many walkers and players at IGMC stadium are of the opinion that the neem tree should be spared for it will take decades to nurture a tree of its size. “The main complaint is about the dry leaves dropping from the tree. The coach should make the players remove the leaves before the game and it would be like a sort of an exercise to them. Removing a tree for a filmy reason is not welcome,” they said in union.

No green cover

They also felt the city was losing its green cover due to rapid urbanisation and it was the duty of the citizens to protect the eco system. “Though the forest department has made it mandatory to plant two saplings for every tree felled, utmost precaution should be taken before putting a tree to the saw,” said Panduru Poornachandra Rao, a walker.

“This playing field will not host any national or international event. It is primarily meant to host State and inter-district matches. There is no need to axe the tree,” said Movva Venugopala Rao, a former volleyball player.

When The Hindu contacted the District Sports Development Officer P. Ramakrishna, who was on an election duty, he said that the decision was shelved for the time-being and the fencing work, as scheduled, has begun. “If there is public outcry on the felling of the tree, we will not proceed with the removal,” he promised.

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