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Plant a tree for every occasion

Bhubaneswar, April 23: A walk down “memory lane” has become a reality here.

For those who want to preserve the memories of their parents or make marriage anniversary or birthday of near and dear ones an occasion to remember, visit Smritivan or memory garden and plant a tree.

Spread over 17.5 acres at Patrapada near the historic Khandagiri-Udaygiri hills, this unique garden gives you the chance of planting a sapling of a flowering or fruit-bearing tree in the memory of your loved ones.

Eminent landscape designer and former director of soil conservation department Bijay Ram Das has designed the garden.

However, to plant a tree at the garden one has to make a choice from among the 40 plant species listed by the forest department and pay Rs 20,000 for its life-long maintenance.

A memory plaque, made of khondolite or granite stone, will be installed near the site mentioning the name of the person to whom the plant is dedicated, the occasion and the name(s) of the donor.

A lawn will be developed around a 6ft radius of the planted sapling, hedged by flower plants.

There will also be some space, where one can kneel down and offer prayer, said a forest official in charge of the garden.

He said that the garden would be able to accommodate around 1,150 plants.

To add value to the ambience, the garden will be equipped with facilities such as drinking water kiosks, cafeteria and interpretation centre.

The official said that a column would be erected in the park in memory of martyrs, who had laid down their lives fighting to save the forest and wildlife.

Welcoming the move, Nrupesh Nayak, a plantation activist, said: “It will promote the love for plants among city residents, who are too busy with the mundane world.”

A senior official of the forest department said the idea of setting up Smritivan was mooted to promote planting of trees and helping the government in maintaining these plants.

Incidentally, chief secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra visited the garden yesterday and planted a tree in the memory of his mother Narayani Mohapatra.

In a yet another novel move, the forest department is popularising the concept of presenting a well-decorated basket containing a flower plant instead of offering flower bouquet or garland at meetings or on occasions such as New Year, Christmas, marriage and birthday.

In a departure from the usual practice, “sapling baskets” were presented to the guests during Earth Day celebrations here yesterday.

Officials say that sapling baskets are available at Ekamra Vana, the medicinal plant garden developed on the banks of the historic Bindusagar lake. One can get such baskets for a nominal price ranging between Rs 80 and Rs 100 per piece.

This facility will also be available at Ekamra Kanan, the botanical garden developed by the Regional Plant Resource Centre in the city in near future, an official said.