The largest banyan tree of Asia, spread over 20 bighas of land and ninety six feet tall, is located at Jhenidah near Kaliganj upazila town. PHOTO: STAR
A famous banyan tree and its office are on the verge of ruin due to the lack of maintenance and care. Its offices have become dilapidated. There is no furniture here. All the doors and windows have been stolen. Visitors are often seen to be worried while visiting this place of historical importance, one cherished by many.
While visiting the place this correspondent talked to a good number of visitors and locals and came to learn that most of its wings and branches are gone. The office rooms that include rest house, toilets and tube well are on the verge of ruin. The largest banyan tree of Asia, 'Mallick Purer Batgachh' is located eight kilometers to the east of Kaligonj upazila town. The tree lies on twenty bighas of land, its height is ninety six feet and it has one thousand four hundred and six sub-trunks.
The banyan tree not only bears historic recollection but is also believed to possess divine power. The women of the Hindu community worship the tree – they are often seen at its feet. The local community reveres the tree as well. In spite of the fuel crisis in the country most people no longer try to cut off branches of this tree.
Officials of the concerned government departments actually care very little about it. Some might be dissatisfied that the tree is in the rural areas. If the tree was located in the capital city, the public would pay visit to see it. In the 1970, a tourist center was built around the tree but it does not offer any benefits a center should. Mysteriously, the furniture and equipment bought for the center never even arrived! It's a shame that this great wonder of nature has been neglected and people in Bangladesh outside this region don't even know that the largest banyan tree of Asia is located in Bangladesh! Official sources said, in 1984, the BBC surveyed the banyan tree and remarked that it is the biggest tree in the Asian continent.
Nayan Hasan, a student and visitor of class nine of Chuadanga Boys Secondary School said, he has heard about this bulky banyan tree but he has not seen with his own eyes. He is astonished to see this nearly ruined big banyan tree. Another visitor Arshed Ali of Khulna said, if this tree is cared for and maintained it will be a worthy visiting place. He expressed grave concern that there are no privileges for the visitors. Kaliganj upazila forest officer Ahiya Hossain said, we visit the banyan tree very often. Due to lack of funds, we are not able to engage a caretaker. He added that a boundary wall will be built soon. A tender is expected to be published immediately in this regard.