The axe, it seems, is continuously falling on majestic Chinar trees across the valley. A verdant ingredient of Kashmir heritage since ages, a decline in Chinars—at a brisk rate, is now altering the landscape of the valley.
The tree, whose leaves shield the raging sun in summers, turn crimson on the onset of fall. And this augments an aesthetic pleasure of the valley. But last few decades have witnessed considerable decline in its number owing to growing impertinence of people and authorities.
Chinar Development Authority says the number of Chinars stood at 38,401 in 2007 as compared to 42,000 in 1970. These alarming figures have prompted the surfacing of numerous campaigns which would advocate the conservation of dying heritage.
“Chinar trees are the splendid gift from nature bestowed upon Kashmir,” says Zareef Ahmad Zareef, eminent Kashmiri poet and founder of Booun Bachav Campaign. “But due to illicit felling, there is considerable decrease in its number. To fortify this nature’s gift, we started a booun bachav campaign (save chinar campaign) in 1984. I hope our endeavor will succeed in protecting Chinars.”
He says people should also take responsibility to shield Chinars from extinction, and each member of the society should raise his voice and hamper the illegal felling of the tree.
Authorities, however, claim that they are putting some serious efforts in practice to protect Chinars.
“Department is doing its best to fortify the heritage tree of the valley,” says Sunil Misri, Director Floriculture. “Our prime focus is to preserve Chinar so that our posterity can relish this nature’s splendor.”
But as developmental works—especially, blacktops are being laid to make a way for growing vehicular traffic; scores of Chinars do face the axe!