The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tuberoses fly for goddess of learning
- London Bengalis order rajanigandhas worth $3000 for deferred Saraswati puja

What is February in a Bengali home without Saraswati puja and what is Saraswati puja without rajanigandha' But what do you do if you are far from home, in a land with no tuberoses in sight' Simple, just fly in a bit of Bengal. More than a bit, in fact, if you are a group of Bengalis settled in London. Fly in rajanigandhas worth $ 3,000.

That’s the flower-power bill for this Saraswati puja, placed with the West Bengal Food Processing and Horticulture Corporation, by London-based Shankar Bose and friends. The director of Tecmatics UK Limited has taken the initiative to import various rajanigandha decorations from Calcutta through his overseas partner, Partha Bose, of Inquest Management Consultant Pvt Ltd, on Shakespeare Sarani.

Thursday being a working day in London, Bose and the rest have pushed back puja celebrations till the weekend and have requested home delivery of the flowers, “positively by Saturday morning”. So, the Horticulture Corporation has commissioned DHL to courier the flowers in a hurry. “They have asked for tuberose sticks, gorer mala, garlands, rings and bouquets,” said Sivaji Roy, executive officer of the Corporation. “And this may not be a one-off request either, as they have evinced an interest in a steady supply of tuberoses round the year,” he added.

The Corporation has already started acting as a nodal agency on behalf of the Mullickghat flower market governing body to export blooms to the global market. Chairman of the governing body and CPM legislator Sudhanshu Sil took the initiative three months ago and the past 60 days have seen orders worth Rs 40 lakh being secured from the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

“A Bengali importer in Holland, Partha Ghosh, has placed an order for 7,000 roses every month, forcing us to launch a hunt for suppliers,” said Sil. “Bengal produces 6,500 tonnes of flowers every year, ranking third behind Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is the source of livelihood for about 50,000 families in the state.”

Bengal produces a rich variety of desi rose, marigold, jasmine, tuberose, China rose, China astor, Cassandra, chrysanthemum, daliah and balsam. And while floriculture is a Rs 600-crore business in India, Calcutta’s share is just Rs 30 crore. But with flowers from home flying off to distant Bengali homes, the picture promises to grow rosier.

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