Mahabubnagar: Efforts to save the legendary Pillalamarri tree in Mahabubnagar have been intensified with the job being handed over to the Forest Department in February after the Tourism Department did its part in reviving the tree since November.
Currently, forest officials are making all-out efforts to save the age-old tree believed to be around 800 years old.
Previously, the Tourism Department had treated the base of the trunk with water mixed with Chloropyrifos 50 per cent EC. Unfortunately, it proved to be too little an effort put in too late. The Forest Department is taking multiple steps simultaneously.
Surprisingly, the Pillalamarri Tourism Centre has become a hospital, with the Pillalamarri receiving treatment through saline bottles. In addition to the treatment of the trunks of the banyan tree. The branches absorb the saline in 10 to 14 hours, thereby spreading the saline all over the tree this way.
Currently, two trunks are being given the saline treatment (though not real saline being administered in the saline bottles). Every week, the solution is administered to different trunks in shifts. The Forest Department is taking a cautious administer-observe-and-proceed approach to treat the tree.
There was a trunk which fell to the ground about three months ago, and it was after this incident that the district Collector had ordered the closure of the venue for visitors and given the job to the Forest Department to save the tree.
“The forest officials are getting more soil. They are trying to strengthen the base of the trunks and in the coming days farm pond manure would be mixed with the soil,” said Mohammed Zakiruddin, section officer in the Forest Department.
The Forest Department has also built four pillars underneath the branches that can break and a U-shaped wall was built to save a weak trunk. The caretakers have ensured that the branches do not come into direct contact with the cemented pillars as it could be detrimental to the recovery of the tree.
According to Zakiruddin, another 30 to 40 pillars would be built under the tree to prevent all the weak branches from breaking.
The caretakers have found a unique way to accelerate the growth of the roots which emerge from the branches and grow vertically down, entering the ground and forming another tree.
The Forest Department is placing PVC pipes filled with coco peat, moss and soil to let these roots of the great banyan tree to quickly enter the ground and grow back as new trunks which are called pillalu.
Retired Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Manoranjan Bhanja and Conservator of Forests CP Vinod Kumar have visited the tree and have been supervising the tree-saving operation of Pillalamarri.
As of now, the great Pillalamarri looks much better than the condition in which it was about five months ago.