The World’s Second Largest Banyan Tree is on Saline Drip
The 700-year-old Ficus tree, known as Pillalamarri, spread over four acres in the Mahabubnagar district of Telangana is almost dying. Efforts are being made by forest officials to rejuvenate it with a “saline drip”. A diluted chemical is being injected into it to kill the termite population that had infested it.
Pumping of chemicals into the stem failed, and so the chemical is being infused drop-by-drop like in a saline drip used in hospitals.
A few hundred bottles of the diluted chemical, Chloropyrifos, has been put up for every two metres of the giant banyan tree.
“We diluted the Chlorpyrifos chemical and started pushing it into the stem by making holes, but it didn’t work. The solution was coming back instantly. Later, we started injecting the solution like a saline drip. This process has been effective. Secondly, we are watering the roots with the diluted solution to kill the termites. And in a physical method, we are building concrete structures to support the collapsing heavy branches,” Mahabubnagar District Forest Officer, Chukka Ganga Reddy, told The Times of India.
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A major tourist attraction, the tree had been closed to visitors since December 2017 after one of its branches came crashing down due to termite infestation. The tree’s health is stable now. The officials are hoping it will return to normalcy after a few days.
Officials also plan to reopen the site to the public after discussions with the higher authorities, but this time visitors will only be allowed to see the tree from a distance, from behind barricades.
The tree site cannot be declared as a biodiversity heritage site as it is in a reserve forest. The forest department reportedly plans to give it a heritage tree tag and conserve it.
Featured image for representation only. Source: Flickr
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)