Green mall

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  • Published 23.05.10

Call it the mall going green or green going the mall way. India’s largest supermarket for plants has opened shop on the city’s outskirts. Green Mall, claiming to have plants for “everyone”, came up on Bakrahat Road, off Thakurpukur, three years back but hardly anyone in Calcutta knows about it.

The mart is spread across 10 acres with a back up plantation area of another 15 acres that houses over 1 million small plants and trees. Palms are the mall’s USP with the nursery having the largest collection of palm species in India, says Dinesh Rawat, who set up Green Mall in 2007.

“We have 254 palm species, of which 100 are indigenous and the rest have been collected from various corners of the world, including the Caribbean to Australia,” says Rawat, who has trained in rearing palms in Thailand, Australia and the US.

The Indian Botanic Garden authorities are collaborating with the mall for improving their own palm collection.

Asked why he set up such an unusual venture, that too with an investment of Rs 10 crore, Rawat said that very soon everyone would walk the green talk and he wanted to set an example. “Business-wise too, this seems like a profitable venture of the future,” says the man who gave up an international trading business to return to roots.

Footfall is still low, around 30 a day. Rawat feels that buying a tree as gift hasn’t caught on yet. Asked about government help, Rawat chuckles before punching holes in the state’s compensatory afforestation policy.

“The practice of planting saplings against chopped trees is carbon dioxide-negative. It is possible to transplant a grown tree or replace a cut tree with a large tree. The technology is available in our mall.”

Experts say growing a 15ft tree in a 2ft wide container — called container planting — is easily achieved. Green Mall has many such plants.