PERAMBALUR: A day after The New Indian Express report on the disappearance of a 'fossil' tree in Perambalur owing to alleged official apathy, district revenue officials plunged into action to recover it. Officials present at the site reaffirmed the tree, over which a mud road was recently laid despite Kunnam residents’ requests to have it protected, as a fossil.
The tree was discovered by locals in a dried-up stream near Kunnam in October 2020. Following this, Kunnam residents demanded the tree be fenced off and protected. Officials who later inspected the spot promised to take efforts to protect it, but no action was taken towards it, residents alleged.
Recently, the Veppur panchayat union laid a mud road, covering the entire stream and buried the tree under it. Residents who noticed it on Thursday, informed the authorities, and Kunnam tahsildar A Anitha began investigation.
Accordingly, Perambalur revenue officials began recovering the tree with an excavator on Saturday evening. Tahsildar Anitha, geologist S Prasath and other officials were present.
On Sunday, the tree was recovered without damage. "While digging the area, more portion of the buried fossil tree came out. The seven-foot fossil tree now appears to be 11-foot long. Based on the shape, it is confirmed that it is a fossil. The tree may be 10 crore years old. Fossils are still being found in streams in Perambalur district," an official said.
"We learned the tree would be moved to another location. This can damage it. Authorities have to fence and protect it here itself," said N Anand, a local resident.
A revenue official in Kunnam told The New Indian Express, "We found the buried fossil after clearing the sand. The Collector will decide on further action." Attempts to reach Collector P Sri Venkata Priya went in vain.