In a first for Punjab, site of ‘300-year-old’ banyan tree to get biodiversity heritage tag
 
SPREAD ACROSS an area of 3.5 acres in Cholti Kheri village of Fatehgarh Sahib, the site of a ‘30-decade-old’ banyan tree — popularly known as ‘Kaya Kalap Vriksha’ — is set to be declared the first biodiversity heritage site in Punjab. Dr Amita Prasad, additional secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, along with district administration officials, had visited the site recently.
 
On Monday, Prasad in a statement said the Punjab Biodiversity Board (PBB) had initiated the process to get the biodiversity heritage tag for the site under section 37 of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and rule 7 of Punjab Biodiversity Rules, 2016. Interestingly, the land measuring 3.5 acres on which the tree stands, is privately owned by multiple individuals. The site is being conserved and managed with the cooperation of the land owners.
 
The site has flourishing flora and fauna including colony of peacocks, owls, several species of reptiles such as snakes, monitor lizards, garden lizards, insects, arthropods, millipedes, nematodes and epiphytes, bryophytes, fungi, algae and lichens. Prasad added that the village panchayat had passed a resolution promising its conservation.
 
A documentary on the site was recently filmed by a Paris-based production house in coordination with the state biodiversity board under a series titled ‘Tree Stories: Most Remarkable Trees of the World’. Dr Amandeep Bansal, additional deputy commissioner Fatehgarh Sahib said the local administration will fully cooperate to upkeep the health of the great Banyan Tree.
 
Express Photo
September 19, 2017