Mother trunk of century-old tree was burnt by miscreants a month ago

A banyan tree, over 100 years old, on the Presidency College campus that was vandalised earlier may now face the threat of being axed by authorities.

According to college sources, the heritage tree is housed along with plants in a medicinal garden at the backside of the premises. About a month ago, an unidentified group allegedly burnt the mother trunk of the tree. It then started decaying and, more than a week ago, got uprooted. Following this, Public Works Department authorities have been working on clearing the uprooted portion of the tree.

A professor from the college said vandals had scaled a wall measuring more than eight feet and entered the college premises. The playground and surrounding area had become a den for nefarious activities during the evenings, he said. Due to lack of regular patrolling by the police on the service road between Chepauk railway station and the college, it wasn’t difficult to gain unauthorised access to the college, professors said.

Naturalists in the city say efforts must be taken to protect the remaining portion of the tree. A senior botanist from one of the city colleges said, in Pune, a Tree Act was in existence. Anyone wishing to cut a tree has to obtain permission and clearance from the authorities concerned. However, in Tamil Nadu such an Act has not been introduced.

Naturalists and tree lovers have been demanding such an Act to protect the old trees particularly in the urban areas, he added.

Survey takes count

Some time ago, a survey of the number of trees on the college premises was conducted.

The survey revealed the Asoka tree (nettilingam) topped the list followed by a variety of avenue tree species. Apart from this, nearly a dozen old banyan trees are also found in the college.

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