UP a steep slope in a quiet residential area of Thiruvananthapuram, a large wild jack got axed on the afternoon of Wednesday. At 3 pm that day, calls went to a group of environmentalists who have always raised their voice against the hurting of trees and unnecessary felling.
By the time they made calls to the agencies responsible to keep the trees safe, and reached the spot – a road flanked by greenery in PTP Nagar – there was little left of the aanjili tree (Malayalam for wild jack). They left a wreath, said goodbye, and hoped that all these gestures would invite the attention of the authorities.
“We did this because big trees of a particular age and growth – like the aanjili – are very crucial for the city. In the time of climate change, heat rise and all, large trees are what absorb maximum carbon and they are very essential to bring down the temperature of the city and make it more livable for us and future generations. Losing a big tree is like losing a heritage property. We thought we need an event to say goodbye to this tree, like it is the death of a loved person, honouring all the services it has done to all the living beings,” says Anitha Santhi, co-founder of Tree Walk, an organisation that has been fighting for trees for years, and bringing awareness to the younger generation on the importance of keeping the city green.
As many as 46 trees are marked in red on the same stretch and the Tree Walk members fear that the same fate will befall on all of them.
The aanjili was cut down for road development, said the authorities. Anita who reached out to Ganesan, the Social Forestry officer under whose range the area falls, told TNM that the tree was cut down as part of a road-widening scheme by the Public Works Department (PWD).