HY14PILLALAMARRI In Telangana district Mahabubnagar the canopy of the 800 -year –old  Pillalamarri tree has shrunk.  Many of its branches,prop roots and off shoots has shrunk due to termite infestation.  The district administration is trying to launch an effort to limit the damage.   “The last time the tree was treated for termite and fungal infestation was about five years ago when Girija Shankar was the district Collector.   But over the last few years, the termites have played havoc.   See these branches with patches of termites, or that hollowed out tree trunk,” a caretaker points out the damage to the tree that sprawls over nearly 12,000 square feet.  The tree looks like a few trees planted close together.  In one of the books  author Nandita Krishna cites it as the oldest tree in her ‘Sacred Plants of India’.  There is an acute water crisis.  Of the two borewells one borewell has completely dried up and another one has water only for 10 minutes.  “The watering of plants around the tree in the garden has come to a halt.   This has robbed the tree of moisture and might be affecting its health,” says a Forest Department official.   At present tourism department takes care of the tree.  Tourism officer Panduranga  Rao said that the water problem is trying to be redressed under a new plan.  A year- round  boating facility is included in the plan and a concrete flooring to check the dam is set up.  In the earlier years it is used to supply water to the garden of the Pillalamarri tree.  The tourists and visitors from nearby areas flock on weekends so the ticketed enclosure  housing the tree is a money spinner for the tourism department .   There is also a  mini Zoo and an  archaeological museum next to the tree.

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