India: Raintree in Behrampore town saved again!
A raintree at the heart of Behrampore town was saved from being cut
down today by green activists Jatiya Sabuj Bahini and Paschimbango
Biggyan Mancho, helped by students from Maharani Kashi Sheri Girl’s
School and KM College School, who were led by their teachers in the
protest. This was the raintree’s second brush with death, after it had
been saved by a green movement from being uprooted a few years back.
The tree was tied with ropes and surrounded by workers ready with
axes, headed by a contractor reportedly armed with an official order.
The contractor never expected that the combined efforts of the local
school’s eco-club members, environmental activists and local kids from
the area could foil their plans.
“This morning had been chosen for
cutting down the rain tree as it was a bandh day (declared by Suci)
and they presumed no-one would be around to save the tree”, said Mr
Kalyan Ghosh, a teacher at Behrampore JN Academy. “But as soon as we
were told that work was in progress to trim the tree’s branches, we
organised our students, rushed to the spot and virtually seized the
woodcutters”, said the teacher. As more local kids joined into the
protest rally, the contractor thought it wise to disarm his
woodcutters before things could take an ugly turn. Police reached the
spot and rescued the contractor, Mr Khurshid Alam, who claimed that a
valid tender had been floated by the Behrampore block land and land
revenue office authorizing him to trim specific branches of the tree.
The tender made no mention of uprooting the old raintree. A forest
department official said in response: “The new office building of West
Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd might have required
the branches of the rain tree to be trimmed. However, this is a very
different thing from killing the tree.” The SDO, Behrampore, said:
“There were definitely no orders given to cut down the tree. The
district administration was not aware of any orders to trim its
branches. So police were sent in to stop the trimming.” While the
WBSEDCL office building was under construction, two raintrees were
uprooted from the area encircling a group of important buildings
including the film society, CPIM party office, College of Textile
Engineering, government officers’ club and Nabanalanda School.