Aug 25, 2021 5 min read
Ecosystem Restoration @ BPCL
A DURGA RAO, BPCL
A DURGA RAO, BPCL
The Tauktae cyclone hit Mumbai city between May 16th & 18th, 2021 with such force that it left more than 812 trees uprooted in its wake. One such tree was a huge, 140-year old Banyan, (Ficus benghalensis), at BPCL Sewree premises. Though Banyans tend to be sturdy and almost indestrutible, but sadly this one was brought down on its knees by Tauktae on night of May 18th 2021
A century old banyan tree is home to birds, ants, squirrels and many variants of fauna. It is a keeper of memories and chronicler of life over the years. The emotional attachment to the Banyan tree was evident in crestfallen faces and teary eyes. It was as we were witnessing the demise of a beloved great grandparent. Everyone was sad to see the majestic tree lying completely uprooted . The message that nature is all powerful was driven home yet again.
However there were some who refused to let go and bow down to Mother Nature so easily. An idea germinated and soon developed into a rescue mission – Reclaim and Restore the Banyan !!. A volunteer team of engineers, agriculturists and general helpers who work at BPCL Sewree, driven by their emotional attachment to the beloved Banyan decided to take on this task and give it their all.
The tree was inspected and it was decided that to enable the tree to stand again some weight loss was needed. The tree underwent emergency surgery – branches were pruned to bring the center of gravity back to the base of the thick trunk. A pit 7 feet by 3-4 meters was dug, widening the hole. The exposed and damaged parts of the tree were treated with a thin solution of Copper Oxy Chloride to prevent fungal and bacterial damage and also to help re-growth.
A crane was used to lift the tree and place it back into the widened pit. Two truckloads of soil were poured around the tree to provide packing and support .
Miraculously, the minute the tree was replanted, birds started coming back to the tree as if welcoming back an old friend. It was a magical to suddenly find birds fluttering about and squirrels scampering around as if saying thank you to human beings for restoring their homes and lives.. Mother Nature had accepted our offering of love and labour.
Banyan trees are revered in the Indian culture. They find mention in our scriptures as providers of longevity and fulfilment. The scientific explanation for this belief can be that the Banyan emits a large amount of oxygen compared to other trees. It reduces the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Pure and clean air, chirping of birds, shelter from harsh sun, rains and a place to sit and contemplate. What more can a person, stressed and stretched due to worldly demands, ask for? Maybe that is why the title of “Grantor of wishes” has been conferred on the Banyan.
The Banyan had granted our wish to have it back amidst us in its original splendor and glory!!
The triumphant team of Ecosystem supporters @ BPCL Sewree
A. Durga Rao, Revanth Kumar, Rajesh Verma , Gardeners & supporting manpower
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