Gita tree to be rid of bad 'karma'

The Times of India, Aug 3, 2015

CHANDIGARH: The legendary banyan tree at Jyotisar near Kurukshetra, under which Lord Krishna is believed to have delivered the message of Bhagavad Gita, is all set to get a new lease of life by August 21. Following orders from the National Green Tribunal, the Kurukshetra Development Board (KDB) has submitted that it would implement all measures suggested by the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, to save the tree from possible harm.

The legendary banyan tree at Jyotisar near Kurukshetra
Following the assurance, the NGT had asked the district administration to deconcretize the tree without any laxity within 30 days. The NGT passed these orders after a plan to revive the tree was submitted before the tribunal by chief executive officer of the KDB on July 21. The board submitted that a committee was appointed to take over the management of Tirath Jyotisar in 2012 following directions from the Punjab and Haryana high court and also appointed additional deputy commissioner as its nodal officer.

The committee consulted the scientists of FRI, Dehradun, for preservation of the holy tree after which the experts visited the site on August 16, 2012, and suggested several measures to save the tree from decaying. It includes pruning of dead branches, removal of concrete and marble flooring around the tree, taking away all signboards, bells, chains and clamps nailed to the tree.

The board had also submitted before the tribunal that the work to revive the tree, located near the Shiva Temple of Jyotisar Tirath, would be undertaken and completed as per the suggestions of FRI within 30 days.

After this, the NGT disposed of the petition filed on the issue by renowned environmentalist and advocate M C Mehta through his NGO Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action.

Pleading that the tree is dying a slow death, the petitioner had submitted that the marble and concrete paving around the tree was harming its growth. Fancy lights and lamps were also nailed to the old tree and big bells were tied to it. The 'holy threads' tied by pilgrims had covered most of the lower branches, the petitioner had said. Lakhs of tourists visit Kurukshetra every year due to its mythological importance.

Steps to save tree

>>> Removal of the marble stones and concrete paving around the tree to expose the soil and facilitate aeration and water percolation

>>> Drilling holes around the tree for making openings for aeration and water percolation

>>> Periodical irrigation

>>> Removal of electric cables attached to the tree

>>> Removal of chains, bells, clamps, signboards

>>> Pruning of dead branches, apply choubatia paste (mixture of copper carbonate, lead oxide and linseed oil)

>>> Removal of the net covering the tree's canopy