The Green Banyan Tree in Howrah’s Shibpur has buffeted at least two recent cyclones – Fani and Bulbul. But a day after Amphan battered Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal on May 20, authorities took stock and found that 41 prop roots and 30 branches of the 270-year-old tree lay strewn all over or were damaged.
The same morning, several tree-lined avenues of Kolkata — Park Street, Beadon Street, Central Avenue and Southern Avenue – had turned into a graveyard of fallen trees such as peepal, Ashoka and banyan, some of which were close to a century old.
According to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), as Amphan hit the city with wind speeds of 130 kmph and more, over 5,000 trees were uprooted. While several fell on houses, the others lay across roads, blocking traffic and snapping electricity, telephone and broadband cables.
Experts now say it will take at least 10 to 15 years to bring back the lost green space, especially in Kolkata and the Sunderbans, which were among the worst affected.