Probe ordered into cutting of a royal Bodhi tree in Prachuab Khiri Khan

A fact-finding panel has been set up at the order of Prachuab Khiri Khan governor to probe the cutting down of a Bodhi tree at a temple in this southern province which was planted by the late King Bhumibol about 60 years ago.

Meanwhile, officials from relevant agencies headed by the provincial governor, Mr Pallop Singhaseni, held a meeting on Thursday at the provincial hall to discuss ways and means to rehabilitate the tree which was chopped off of all its branches and trunk, leaving the stump on the ground of Wat Thammikaram on Chong Krachok mountain.

The governor said that the cutting of the Bodhi tree planted by the late king some 60 years ago has saddened many people in the province.

He said he ordered forest officials to the temple to find out the truth after he learned the royal tree was felled.  The temple abbot admitted he ordered the tree chopped because he thought it was already dead with its dry branches and deplete of leaves.

Nevertheless, a formal probe was needed, said the governor, adding that he had sent a letter of clarification to the interior minister and asked for a pardon  from HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

A tree expert said the roots of the tree were in good condition and could be rehabilitated, but soil on which the Bodhi tree is now standing would have to be replaced with fertilizer and hormone being put in as well as anti-fungus chemical to kill fungus.

The tree stump also needs to be cordoned off to save it from hundreds of monkeys on the mountain.