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Facing neglect, Goa's state flower Abolim set to bloom again

Facing neglect, Goas state flower Abolim set to bloom again
Panaji: After being pushed into near oblivion, Goa's celebrated `Abolim' flower is getting back into the limelight with a group of like-minded people working on a project to revive it.
Scientifically known as crossandra infundibuliformis, Abolim was notified as the state flower in the early 1970s because of its importance in Goa's socio-cultural life.
But over the years, it virtually vanished from the state's floriculture map, forcing its imports from adjoining Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
"Abolim once again needs to feature prominently in the state's socio-cultural life for which the efforts are now being made.
"There are only a few pockets left now where the trees bearing Abolim flowers are planted. The rest of Goa has forgotten them," said Minguel Braganza, Secretary of the Botanical Society of Goa. Braganza has been on the forefront of a project to revive the floriculture sector, which has been getting secondary preference in the state's economic scenario.
Braganza said the `Abolim', found only in Sri Lanka, Goa and parts of South India, had been part of the state s rich cultural legacy cutting across the religious barriers.
He narrated how followers of Our Lady of Milagres, a Christian deity, and Hindu Goddess Lairai used to exchange `oil' and `Abolim' as a part of intercultural tradition as both the deities are considered sisters.
He said there are some festivals which are incomplete without `Abolim'.
Joining hands with Braganza, the Nirmala Institute of Education, the state's oldest teacher training school, has dedicated its annual event to the flower and named it `Abolianchem Fest' (a festival dedicated to Abolim).
"The institute does not want to project Goa as the land of sand, Sun and fun as done in tourism brochures. Our efforts have always been to project the cultural heritage of the state," said Rita Paes, director of the institute and a former principal.
She said the festival, to be held on March 10 at the institute s premises in Panaji, will celebrate the state s food, flowers, music and other legacies.
Braganza said there is no figure as to what quantity of `Abolim' is imported to Goa as there are no organised flower markets in the state.
He said conservationists have decided to approach the agriculture department and request them to initiate measures to save the flower from becoming extinct in the state.
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