Soothsayer stops dist administration from cutting old banyan tree

The decision of North 24-Parganas district administration to fell an old banyan tree could not be implemented after a local soothsayer raised objection. 

Senior officials of the district administration say the tree, which is located in front of BLRO-I office, a little away from the office of District Magistrate in Barasat, has become weaker and it is really necessary to uproot it as it may lead to an accident.    

The tree attracted the attention of district administration before the scheduled visit of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to inaugurate Jatra Utsav at Kachari Maidan in January. 

The administration decided to uproot the tree as it is close to administrative buildings in Barasat and the district court, which is situated just at the opposite side. 

A large number of people visit the place for various reasons. The tree is located at the entry gate of BLRO I office. 

Keeping this in view, the district magistrate in North 24-Parganas Manmeet Kaur Nanda had ordered to uproot the tree but the police and municipality workers were unable to implement the order as a soothsayer, who sells amulets and saplings below the same tree, opposed them. 

He claimed that he has been selling amulets and saplings for many years under the seme tree and he had developed an emotional attachment with it. 

He said the tree, which used to give him shelter, could not be uprooted as it would have an adverse effect on his as well as others life too. 

DM issued instruction to BLRO office which in turn asked the police to carry out the instruction. The district administration is in a fix as how to carry out the order of the district magistrate. 

Some of the municipality workers, who went to the spot to fell the tree, were convinced by the assertions made by the soothsayer that if they cut the tree, it might bring some unforeseen disaster for them and their family members. 

Even the police were hesitating to apply force to dislodge the soothsayer from the spot and go ahead carrying out the order of the district magistrate. 

It may be mentioned that in last few years the district administration had to fell trees along the VIP road in order to widen the stretch. 

Trees were also uprooted along Jessore road due to road widening and construction works. But here the issue was quite different. Some religious sentiments had stopped the police administration to carry out the order issued by the district magistrate. 

BLRO-I (Barasat) Abhijit Ghosh said, “I have told the administration to fell the tree as it could cause damage to property and loss of human lives. Police came but failed to dislodge an occupant.” 
Pradip Chatterjee

Pradip Chatterjee

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