Clearly in India, whether it is a tree or a person, getting the status of a VVIP means luxurious treatment. So far, we have seen security guards guarding VVIPs. We have also seen VVIP constituencies like Amethi, Rai Bareilly, Baramati, Hajipur, Pulivendula, Kuppam, Gajwel or Sirisilla shining bright with every amenity.
Now a tree has attained the status of a VVIP and that has led to it having a barbed fence, one water tank, one agri-scientist to look after its health, four security guards and a proposal to make the place a tourist area. The result is a Rs 12 lakh annual burden on the government.
The speciality of this tree is that it was presented to India by the then Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksha. He came here five years ago and personally planted the tree. As a result, this tree became the country's first VVIP tree.
So where can you find this most special tree? This Peepul tree is located in the Salmatpur area of Madhya Pradesh, between the cities of Bhopal and Vidisha. And yes, Madhya Pradesh is the state paying the Rs 12 lakh.
Of course, the scene is a bit ludicrous, since farmers in Madhya Pradesh commit suicide thanks to a lack of finances and water, even as the government spends this much to guard one tree.
Once the planted sapling started to grow, so did the expenditure for its maintenance. A fence was erected around the tree and 24-hour security guards were appointed. One home guard, Parameshwar Tiwari, speaking to NDTV said, "I came to work here in 2012. There were four more guards. At first many tourists came to see the tree but now the number has decreased."