Irom Sharmila donates Rs. 25,000 for dying world record hedge


IMPHAL Jan 19: The Guinness world record holder of the state for the highest topiary in the world Samballei Sekpil grown by Moirangthem Oken is at present dying, according to the hedge grower. To build a memorial complex for the said record holding plant, Irom Chanu Sharmila has donated a sum of Rs 25,000.
A press conference held at Manipur Press Club today saw a distressed Oken as the plant he lovingly named ‘Thoibi’ is starting to wither away. Oken in the conference stated the need to preserve the hedge as it has brought recognition to the state in the international arena.
He stated that through much hardship he has been able to nurture the hedge up to its present status. “I even pulled a rickshaw for a meager 200 Rs per day just to provide manure for the plant. I worked at least 4/5 shifts at night in a month just to save my dear plant, which I have nurtured for 30 years “.he said.
The Samban-Lei (Samban means fencing and Lei means flower), its Hindi name is Nilakantha (Sky flower) and Botanical name  Duranta Repens Linn grown at Sagolband Tera used to stand approximately 61 feet  and had 50 numbers of steps earlier , now after deteriorating , the  hedge acknowledged by the Guinness record is at below 50 feet  and has 44 steps only. Oken in the conference said that he met Irom Sharmila on January 15 to show solidarity to her fast to remove the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1 958  from the State. He presented her with a photograph of the hedge along with a poem written by himself paying tribute to the iron lady, and had further appraised her on the condition of the hedge.
Sharmila on her part, acknowledging the feat and endeavor of Oken on preserving the hedge, presented the latter with a token of Rs 25,000 as a starting budget to start building the memorial complex of the hedge at Kumbi which is also the ancestral home of Oken.
The memorial complex of Sambellei Sepil will cover all aspects, along with recreational facilities, the complex will have an educative side which will give a background of the historical aspects of the State along with preserving the local flora and fauna, the complex if fully realized will also house a third home for the brow antlered deer Sangai which is on the brink of extinction today, he said. Oken stated that he will approach the representatives of the state and the central government in a bid to save the Samballei Sekpil.

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