Chennaiites get emotional after losing 50-year-old peepul tree

Chennai: “The Arasamaram here is not just a tree but an emotion for us,” said the Mugalivakkam residents at Porur in the city unanimously.

The prominent landmark of Mugalivakkam, Arasamaram, in the locality is no more.

The 50-year-old tree was uprooted by the officials recently. For the residents, it will take some more time for the news to sink in; the tree, after all, was considered a best friend by the local people.

Speaking to ‘News Today’, some of the long-time residents shared their memories and how much they missed their old friend.

M Karthik, a local resident, said,”I have been living here for about eight years now. Senior citizens of this locality considered this tree to be their popular meeting spot. Many of them had the habit of gathering here during weekends to chat and play games.

“A part of the tree was damaged in cyclone Vardha and was losing life day-by-day, so we had to let it go eventually. But the sad part is that our locality has lost an identity. It was our centre point,” rued Karthik.

K S Kannan, who has been residing in Mugalivakkam for the last ten years, said that although he is sad about the loss of the tree, it is good that the tree was uprooted before it could cause any calamity.

“The Arasamaram was seen as a 24-hour traffic police by the commuters. It partitioned the three-road junction and thus regulated the traffic in our area. But now all that is gone. We are now facing heavy traffic in this area. Although policemen have put up barricades, they are of no use,” Kannan explained.

He went on to add that they have requested the officials to install a traffic signal and to deploy a policeman at the junction.

“The tree was not maintained properly and so the officials had to uproot it. It is really sad to lose a landmark which has been there for long time. But I also feel that the tree hindered vehicle movements to a great extent. The residents have again planted three more saplings in this area and I had requested them to plant them on the roadside and not in the middle,” said Senthil, a social activist.

A GREEN INITIATIVE

The Lions Club in Mugalivakkam has planned to grow a new tree in this locality and legal discussions regarding the same is going on. “A good result can be expected soon,” said the club’s secretary Bharani hopefully.

P T Usha