The Kollam canal in kerala, is soon going to be revamped which is a great endeavour for it will reestablish a route through the city to the Ashtamudi lake. This will create a route for fishermen and even build a kollam backwater tourist route which can benefit the local population.
However in order to do this the central government needs to clear cut the area around the canal as it is overgrown with jackfruit, mango trees, banana trees and a wide variety of other vegetation. This will have a negative impact to both, the environment and to the locals who enjoy the shade and filtered air from this forest area.
It hasn't been just the local residents who have benefitted from this natural beauty. Along the shore of the canal stands a very unique tree structure. It is an anomaly because it is actually two trees that have grown and intertwined to form a very special bond. Neither have had a negative effect on the other, and both are thriving. Oddly, one is a mango tree and the other is the aggressive Bodhi or Peepal tree. Stems, roots and branches merge and engulf each other , forming a stunning display of kinship - two beings living as one.
This beautiful duet of the natural world has resided near the canal for over 100 years, and in the days when the canal was actively being utilised, provided a rest stop for boats seeking respite from the hot sun. So significant, this tree has become a sacred place of worship to the people in the area, where rites and prayers are performed. Unfortunately this great example of harmony has been tagged with red numbers - 230, and is in imminent danger of removal.
During the British colonisation, the Kollum canal was the only way to transfer goods across Kerala and therefore was very important. Post Independence, the waterway use waned and gradually fell into neglect. Slowly the encroaching vegetation made areas impassable.
With the National Governments' push to regain use of the Kollam waterway, it seems there is great impact to the natural environment and local wellbeing that is not being considered. Trees like the one mentioned above, are being removed without any consideration to conservation or respect for nature. Our Peepal/Mango tree should be a call to action to preserve, even a few of the trees along the canal.
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