Bedi backs light, sound shows at botanical gardens to up footfall

By Times Of India on 24 Apr 2018 | read
Puducherry: Lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi on Sunday mooted the idea to host light and sound shows at the historic botanical gardens to attract more tourists to the Union territory.
Established as early as 1826 by the French, the gardens are one of the major tourist spots here. The gardens also caught the attention of the film industry, with prominent scenes in the Oscar-winning movie ‘The Life of Pi’ being shot here.

Bedi, who visited the gardens as a part of the 154th-weekend rounds, along with volunteers from 13 government and private schools, colleges and NGOs, also suggested a series of measures to revamp the gardens that bore the brunt of the 2011 Thane cyclone.

She sought the setting up of flower, vegetable and fruit gardens, and forming eco-clubs in consultation with experts. Stressing on producing compost from organic waste generated in the garden, she insisted on selling the manure at a competitive price to generate additional revenue for the gardens. She sought the volunteers to seek the help of Nabard (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) to engage in farming activities.

Dividing the gardens into portions, she entrusted the task of maintaining the portions to 13 groups of volunteers. The names of the groups will be displayed at the portions they maintain. The department concerned will issue identity cards to the volunteers to enter the garden without entry fee.

She directed to create a WhatsApp group with the director (agriculture) as the administrator to integrate and coordinate the work among team members. The volunteers on day one (Sunday), cleaned the garden, planted saplings and painted the walls with eco-friendly pictures and messages.

Bedi directed the secretaries to hold monthly meetings to promote the garden. She insisted on celebrating ‘garden day’ after the successful revamping of the place, to recognise and honour the stakeholders for their contributions.

The garden is home to more than 2,000 shrubs and trees of about 175 species, including endangered and exotic species, found originally only on the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats. Some of the trees on the premises like Khaya senegalensis and Bombax (African silk cotton tree), are more than 120 to 130 years old. French navy officer S G Perrottet, who was also a botanist, was instrumental in developing the gardens spread across 22 acres, in the 1830s. The garden, which came under the control of the department of agriculture in 1960, was developed into a horticulture base in the Union territory raising medicinal and ornamental plants too.