Plantation drive carried out

SHERGAON, Jul 28: Local NGO Garung Thuk in collaboration with the Biodiversity Management Committee on Saturday carried out a plantation drive to rejuvenate the sacred grove here in West Kameng district.
“The need of the plantation was felt urgent because of the recent development of approach road to agricultural fields, which passes through the periphery of the community reserved forest,” a press release stated.
The sacred grove has oak trees estimated to be more than 300 years old. The fallen dried leaves were used for fertilizing the adjacent agricultural fields, before the emergence of modern-day chemical fertilizers.
Trees in the reserved forest are never felled, and people are allowed to use the fallen branches only. Even natural falling of a tree is considered a bad omen for the family that looks after that particular stretch of the grove.
Dr Kenjum Bagra, research officer at the Arunachal Pradesh Biodiversity Board, who also participated in the programme, commended the people of Shergaon for keeping close ties with nature and for keeping the traditional conservation methods alive.
Buddhist monk Dombu Tsering Thungon, who offered prayers before the start of the plantation, said, “The sacred grove is not just a forest. It is the place of the local deity who always protects the village.”
Lobsang Tashi Thungon, a research scholar in the NERIST’s forestry department, explained the current status of sacred groves across the country.
On behalf of the NGO, he thanked the people who parted with their ancestral plots of land for laying the road to save the sacred grove and to cause minimal damage to the forest.
Jawans of the 73rd battalion the SSB and village elders also participated in the plantation drive.