GAYA: Scientists from Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute (FRI) on Thursday conducted a thorough health check up of the sacred Bodhi tree located on the premises of Mahabodhi temple and found it in reasonably good health.
The health check-up was jointly conducted by plant pathologist Amit Pandey and plant physiologist Santan Barthwal form the premier institute. They, however recommended switching off lights in the tree vicinity by nine every evening.
“Nightlong illumination in the vicinity is a real health hazard as it adversely affects the process of photosynthesis, which is very important for a plant’s health. Hence darkness must be ensured to protect the plant life,” said Pandey.
“The freshness of the new leaves is remarkable,” added Pandey.
Only a few months back, Pandey had to rush to Bodh Gaya following largescale premature felling of the leaves. At that time, he had applied medicated paste at several points on the tree.
Asked about the areas of concern, Pandey said that is related to the hardening of the soil of the open space on the western side of the tree. The soil has hardened due to heavy foot fall of the devotees visiting Bodh Gaya from across the world. The soil needs to be loosened. Soil compaction has blocked the channels that carry nutrients and moisture to the tree roots.
On the point of limiting the number of shrine entrants to prevent soil compaction, the scientist said that though desirable, the idea was not practical.
He also recommended fixation of ornamental and seasonal plants and flowers in the open space. “It would be doubly advantageous. Besides loosening the soil, such plants and flowers will block the entry of visitors to more vulnerable areas,” said Pandey.