IMPHAL, March 17 � The Guinness World Records holder tallest topiary in the world is likely to die due to lack of attention from the State Government, according to Moirangthem Okendra, who had groomed the ordinary fencing plant into a record breaking topiary.
The tallest topiary in the world, popularly known as Samban-Lei Sekpil in the local tongue, has earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999 when it was 61 feet tall and became the second entry from Manipur after the game of Polo, which originated in the State.
Samban means fencing, Lei means flower and Sekpil indicates a decorative bamboo post with rounded structure forming a canopy, generally used in worship or festivals in Manipur. Usually, the plant is used for fencing.
The 54-year-old Okendra, an employee in the State Horticulture department informed this reporter on the sideline of the calendar releasing function in Imphal on Monday that the height of the plant has reduced from 61 feet to 40 feet due to lack of attention from the authorities concerned. The top branches of the plant measuring around 20 ft fell down sometime in 2007. The iron ladder which was installed to maintain the plant was also accordingly reduced in height.
Okendra used to look after the plant when he was at his Sayang Leirak residence in Imphal West district. Now, he could no longer maintain the plant as he has settled at his native Kumbi village in Bishnupur district. He has to look after the Samban-Lei Sekpil School in the village which was founded by his national awardee teacher father some years back.
Since he started to groom and shape the plant in 1981, Okendra had spent Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per month to maintain the 34 year-old plant. He is now seeking help from the State Government to revive the dying plant which has a life span of 200 years, for attracting tourists. �Now, I can no longer afford to maintain it,� he added. However, he would like to maintain it if the authority supports him.
Okendra, who also received recognition from Limca Book of Records, once received Rs 5 lakh from Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi in 2009 after he personally sought help from the then opposition leader Sonia Gandhi in 2003.