Now, artificial lights for better bloom in New Town
Kolkata: New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) has adopted a unique technique called 'grow light' for growing high quality flowers—especially tube rose and chrysanthemum—with the help of artificial lights in the broad median near Biswa Bangla Gate at New Town.
The entire project has been planned over a plush area of more than 2 acres at Narkelbagan in New Town. Visitors to Café Ekante Restaurant at Biswa Bangla Gate will get the rare top view of the dimly-lit picturesque scene in the evening from 6 to 10 pm round the year.
"We will leverage the use of 'grow lights' to achieve high grade quality flowers, especially for chrysanthemums. The process involves increasing the duration of 'day light' through artificial lighting. This helps in improving the quality of the blossom. This process had been practised successfully for more than 25 years in rural areas of Panskura in East Midnapore," said Debashis Sen, Chairman of NKDA. The technique has been endorsed by Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (BCKV). In this method, an artificial light source, suspended from a given height, is used only during the growing period of the saplings for around 25 days.
An alternate dim lighting arrangement has also been made for displaying the entire set-up and the flowers to the visitors or passers-by. The lights were switched on during the occasion of Diwali.
"Our main plan is to have a livelihood generation for the local self-help groups (SHGs). The flowers cultivated by this process shall be marketed and sold through SHGs. But, it can be done only after securing the economic viability. It would start with chrysanthemum and would apply to tube rose as well, once the cultivation stabilizes. These widespread areas of chrysanthemum and tube-rose will also multiply the tourism opportunities for New Town manifold," said a senior NKDA official.
The authorities are also exploring potentials for establishing the forward linkage part through wholesale market or retail outlets.
The area will have 50,000 chrysanthemum of almost 12 colour varieties and around 30,000 tube roses. There are provisions for other seasonal annuals, as well.