Millennium Post

Garden of medicinal plants turns into criminal's den

Kolkata: A sheer philanthropic zeal and love for plants drove Saurendu Sekhar Biswas, a septuagenarian from Howrah's Bagnan, to set up a garden of medicinal plants on 6 bigha land way back in 2002.

Now, the garden has been occupied by some criminals and the local administration is turning a deaf ear to his appeal.

Biswas has prepared medicines from the herbs over the years. After graduating from Vidyasagar College in Kolkata in 1968 with Zoology Honours, Biswas developed interest in Botany and came up with the unique garden with herbs which could be used for preparing medicines.

It would always provide an aesthetic pleasure to Biswas in planting various saplings and having found himself surrounded by nature. He was inspired by a renowned botanist, Dr Dulal Chandra Pal and a homeopathy doctor Radhakrishna Sengupta, who is no more, to start Snehanjali Prakitik Veshaja Udyan in 2002 at Hijlok, around 3 km from his current residence in Bagnan town. The garden survived the onslaught of time over the years, including two incidents of flood in 2011 and 2015.

The first one partially damaged the garden while the latter devastated the garden to a great extent. Many of his plants were destroyed during the flood but his indomitable spirit and love for plants once again helped him to revive the garden.

Biswas, who is the founder of Oriental Homeo Remedies, produces essential medicines from his garden herbs. There are currently more than 150 plants, the number is much lesser than it used to be in the past. This man now seemed to have lost hope in gardening and fear of destruction looms large in his mind as some local miscreants have turned the garden into a den where they booze and carry out anti-social activities after the sun down. The solar panel in the garden was also stolen by the criminals.

The garden had electricity supply from the solar unit and this helped to run the pump and illumine the garden.

Biswas went to Bagnan police station following the theft incident and raised

the matter with the officer-in-charge of the police station but he allegedly did not co-operate with the elderly man.

Being on the verge of despair, Biswas does not even go to his garden regularly.

"Many renowned personalities, including writer Mahasweta Devi, visited my garden from time to time and encouraged me. But now my biggest concern is how to protect the garden where I have grown so many high value medicinal plants," Biswas said.

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