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Tura | August 23, 2019:

With a view to promote and preserve the unique indigenous Living Architectural Root Bridge in Garo Hills region, the Deputy Commissioner, West Garo Hills Ram Singh convened a meeting with the Members of Living Bridge Foundation, Meghalaya Shillong and other related departments of the district including Forest and Environment, PHE, Soil and Water Conservation, IBDLP, CLLMP at DRDA Conference Hall, Tura.

The Deputy Commissioner Ram Singh informed that Garo Hills region also has the potential to build root bridges and added that few places are maintaining simple bamboo bridges to cross the river at various places, but with proper guidance and support similar unique living root bridges can be made here with the help of the Living Bridge Foundation, Shillong.

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Moreover, planting Ficus trees along the streams, rivers for the formation of root bridges in the area would not only add tourist attraction but also prevent soil erosion and help to preserve the ecosystem as well as to retain water and preserve the catchment area, he said. Therefore, with this objective, the members of the Living Bridge Foundation have been invited so as to discuss, identify and plan for future course of action, he added.

Meanwhile, in his power point presentation, the Chairman and Founder, Living Bridge Foundation, Morningstar Khongthaw emphasized on the Living Architecture ecosystem which is an area where Ficus grows and plays a very important role in maintaining the ecology of the surrounding area. He informed that Living Root Bridges are kind of architectures designed by Khasi and Jaintia Community using the root of a Ficus in the form of bridge to cross the river.

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Mentioning the importance of these architectures, he said that these living structures are rural based connectivity which can be used under extreme climatic condition, involves community and supports other plants and animals of the surrounding area and provides opportunity for sustainable eco tourism in the region. He also mentioned about the different types of architecture used by our forefathers such as Living root Bridges, Ladders, swings, platforms, tunnels, etc for travelling from one place to another.

Further, he informed about the method of plantation, growth and maturity of the plant including materials necessary for building this living bridge architecture, duration and also mentioned about the cultural aspects which symbolised the hard work, passion and intellect of our ancestors which is passed on from generation to generation.

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Therefore, in order to make a start with this long term project, the members of Living Bridge Foundation, Shillong in collaboration with the district administration would build a Sky walk with flat forms at DC Park, Tura and then would expand to other identified locations in and around the district.

The General Secretary, Living Bridge Foundation, Aibansienglang Thabah, Vice President, Living Bridge foundation, Kyntiewbor War, Ficus Planter, Living Bridge Foundation, Jebenstone Nongkrot also shared their views about the significance of Root bridges and the endurance necessary for making these bridges since it is time consuming while Project Director DRDA, WGH C N Sangma extending his appreciation to the Deputy Commissioner Ram Singh have supported the initiative and called for cooperation from all sections of the society to make this project a successful one in the region.

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Further, during the meeting the Deputy Commissioner, Ram Singh also felicitated Ajit Sangma and Samson T Sangma for maintaining traditional bamboo bridges at Pelga Falls, near Tura.

The team members also visited Ringgigre Village under Rongram Block and interacted with community members regarding conservation of trees and promoting roots and construction of living root bridges through natural entwining of roots and also identified potential location for promoting of living bridge formation.

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