At 80, he designs beautiful cityscapes

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 15.07.11
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Bhubaneswar, July 14: From well-arranged trees of the Biju Patnaik Park in Cuttack to the latest Charaka Medicinal Park and Bamboo Setum in Bhubaneswar, various landscape projects across the state have something in common.

Despite their varying styles of architecture, most of the parks, gardens and landscape projects throughout the state are the creations of a wrinkle-eyed but vibrant planner — octogenarian Bijay Ram Das.

A former director of soil conservation in the state, Das has been planning landscape designs for massive projects for the last five decades.

“It had always been a hobby for me. I had built my own library as a youngster and later engaged in many projects of the government,” he said.

He designed the various parks by Cuttack Development Authority, Bhubaneswar Development Authority, district park of Keonjhar, Koraput, the garden of aviation department and many such projects.

Das, who retired in 1992, had to initially manage the projects along with his job. At present, he is a full-time landscape designer for the tourism department, State Bank of India, forest department, Chilika development authority and others. He has also worked on the landscape of various engineering colleges such as CV Raman College of Engineering, Temple City College and others.

The special features of the various projects designed by Das are well-managed division of different types of plant orchards and flowers, beautiful pavements and seating arrangements and the installation of impressive sculptures throughout the site.

“While working on a project, the first thing I do is visit the site and study the soil, water, flora and fauna or the physiography of the site. After a detailed survey, I prepare a drawing of the plan, which I get computerised, with the help of architects. If approved, I start working on the project as per the client’s requirement,” he said.

Although Das is in his 80s, he leaves home at 9am and visits the various sites he is working on.

“It gives me immense satisfaction to see the lush orchards, plants and flowers and the well-furnished scenic beauty of nature. This creative work is my passion,” said Das.

Das said his work keeps him away from loneliness. “Before my wife’s death, she had asked me to continue landscape planning so that I can be away from the pangs of loneliness. Following her advice, I found her words were true. Though I get exhausted sometimes, there is no match for the pleasure I get from my work,” said the landscape expert.

According to R. K. Naik, ranger of Khandagiri Forest Range, Das is the best landscape designer of the state. “Even at this age, he prepares the plans so beautifully. We get inspiration from his energy and passion for work,” said Naik.