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A sal grove in animal land

- 150 saplings to be sown during Van Mahotsav at Tata zoo, sale counter of medicinal plants opens

Jamshedpur, July 19: A sal grove in the heart of an animal kingdom. That’s Tata Steel Zoological Society’s latest contribution to the green world.

The zoo on the sprawling Jubilee Park premises, which is doing its bit to conserve greenery, took another step today when it planted sal saplings and opened a counter to sell endemic medicinal plants, kicking off the eight-day Van Mahotsav that’s celebrated across the nation.

Ten saplings were sown at an area near the zoo education centre by Satyajit Singh, conservator of forests (territorial circle), Jamshedpur; Karma Bhuita, divisional forest officer, Jamshedpur; and zoo director Bipul Chakravarty. Students of Jusco South Park (Bistupur) and Kerala Public School (Kadma) were also present on the occasion.

The sale counter of medicinal plants was also set up in the same area.

“Sal and Jharkhand are synonymous with each other. So we decided to come up with a sal grove on our premises. We have decided to plant 100-150 saplings inside the zoo to add to the green cover and compensate for loss of trees that get uprooted,” Chakravarty said.

He added that the saplings had been procured from the government nursery at Gamharia. Some were grown by their garden staff.

Tata Steel Zoological Society committee member Rajnish Kumar said this year, they were putting emphasis on planting species like mahua, asan, arjun, barh, neem and karam. “Fodder saplings like peltophoum and gulmohar will be also planted at strategic areas inside the zoo,” he added.

As for the sale kiosk, tulsi and aloe vera are being sold for Rs 5 per plant.

Van Mahotsav is a pan India programme that is adopted by all interested organisations involved in conservation of flora and fauna. This year, the event is being celebrated from July 19 to 26. Students from local schools and NGOs like Lions Club and Inner Wheel Club are expected to join in the tree plantation programmes over the next few days.

The green campaign began in 1947 after a flourishing plantation drive was undertaken in New Delhi. The drive witnessed participation from former President Rajendra Prasad and former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Since then, thousands of saplings of diverse species are planted with support from local residents and agencies like the forest department in several states across India.