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Kashmir University Stops Construction to Save Chinar Trees

Kashmir University Wednesday suspended construction of a guesthouse inside the campus to save a dozen chinar trees from the axe following student protests .

Vice Chancellor Abdul Wahid Qureshi halted the construction inside the chinar studded Naseem Bagh campus here.

Hundreds of students had launched an aggressive campaign to draw public attention to the possibility of chinar trees being felled to make way for the construction.

"I have passed orders so that no law is violated in this regard," Qureshi told IANS.

The lofty chinar tree, which is an icon of the rich Kashmiri heritage, is protected under the law and its felling without the explicit magisterial permission is illegal.

While many historians credit the Mughal rule for bringing the majestic chinar tree to Kashmir from Iran, others argue the chinars in the Valley owe their origin to Greece.

The broad, thick leaves of the chinar are famous for their changing colours during the autumn season.

From green to crimson, red and finally yellow, the leaves of the chinar present an autumnal spectacle of colour, which fascinates tourists so much that they time their next Kashmir vacation with the changing colours of the chinar leaves.

Besides its grandeur and beauty, this tree has economic significance for the locals.

Its dry fallen leaves are burnt and converted into charcoal to fill the traditional Kashmiri fire pots, 'Kangris', used inside the loose, tweed over-garments called the 'Pheren' to keep warm during winters.


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