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| Last Updated:02/08/2022

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13 'Sana Khongnang' trees at risk of being felled

Source: Chronicle News Service / Premchand Thongam

Imphal, January 09 2022: Climate change has drastically affected the weather across the globe.

Experts have blamed deforestation and over-exploitation of natural resources as the cause for the change.

As such, people have realised the impending danger to the future generation and have taken up various environmental projects including mass afforestation and prioritising the existing ecological balance while carrying out developmental works including road expansion projects.

The efforts made are often shared on social media platforms, highlighting the importance of preserving the natural ecosystem.

In the context of Manipur, despite knowing the importance of protecting the forests and the natural environment, developmental works relating to construction of new roads and expansion of the same seem to be given more priority.

Many rare tree and plants have been lost in the process as well.

Many environmentally conscious citizens of the state have expressed their dissatisfaction over the felling of a fully-grown Khongnang (banyan tree) in Wangbal, Thoubal.

Recently, 5 Khongnang trees near Lamboi Khongnangkhong area were felled in connection with the road expansion work along Uripok-Kangchup, earning the ire of many citizens.

The question is whether it is absolutely necessary to cut down the trees during the repairing or expansion of roads.

Presently, the road expansion work from Canchipur till Lilong Bridge along NH-102 is being carried out to upgrade the 3km stretch of road to a four lane road.

However, around 13 Sana Khongnangs (Sacred Fig/Peepal trees) growing alongside the road are at risk of being felled, which has raised concerns amongst the people.

Some of these Sana Khongnang trees are fully-grown and have been in existence for many decades, while others are still growing.

As a post raising the above concerns was uploaded on social media, none of the netizens supported the felling down of the trees and others even drew the attention of Chief Minister N Biren.

One of the netizens commented that it was unfortunate of the state government to continuously cut down the trees without understanding both the ecological and historical importance of the same.

A group named 'Manipur University Group' also urged on social media against felling of trees.

Others also shared their opinions in support of protecting the trees and revising the project costs to divert the roads away from the trees.

Furthermore, even the country's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna Award, is designed like a leaf of Sana Khongnang.

In addition, banyan trees, which live up to 900-1500 years, produce oxygen at night and also act as an air purifier, according to experts.

On the other hand, as per a report of Forest Survey.of India, the total forest area in the state, which used to be 16,846.90 sq km, has been decreasing in the past few years.

The survey, which is done every year, has shown that the total forest area has decreased by about 899.10 sq km from 2017 to 2019, as per the 2019 report.

Taking all of these into consideration, it would be best for the state government to try and preserve the natural ecosystem as much as possible while undertaking developmental works.