New Lalbagh shows the way, drop by drop

The elite seed coconut farm at Kannamangala near Whitefield on Hoskote Road where the horticulture department is creating a botanical garden close on the lines of Lalbagh. DH Photo/ Niranjan Kaggere

The whole of Karnataka is reeling under severe shortage of water, with farmers facing a bitter crisis in the wake of groundwater levels fast depleting and reservoirs drying up.

But the elite coconut seed farm at Kannamangala in East Bengaluru managed by the Horticulture department — where the government is developing a new Lalbagh — has shown the state what best can be done with the little water it has.

Using every drop judiciously, the farm has not only increased its coconut yield from previous years, but is also paving the way for the creation of a verdant lung space in a region where the water table has depleted beyond 1,000 to 1,500 feet. Until last year, the farm in Whitefield limits used to wilt under scorching heat. The yield dropped considerably for 30 years. But the farm has sprung to life with the announcement of creation of a new Lalbagh in the area.

Rudresh, the proprietor of Lalbagh, said that judicious management of water sources resulted in a 30% increase in yield. “Besides the shortage of labour, the borewells had also dried up. But our efforts to revive the farm by providing nutrient inputs and judicious management of water sources resulted in a good yield. Each palm is giving us about 80 to 100 coconuts a year,” Rudresh said.

The 152-acre coconut farm has about 3,500 palms of different varieties.

The officials and labourers recharged the dried up borewells and also switched over to sprinkler system of irrigation. It saved a lot of water, which will be used to raise fresh
saplings.

“As the new Lalbagh is taking shape, it requires even more water in the days to come. Hence we have linked with surrounding industries and residential layouts to source treated water for the garden maintenance. We have plans of raising mixed cropping, multi-tier cropping, inter-cropping and border cropping plantation with a variety of palms and other flora and thereby creating the largest lung space in the region,” a senior horticulture official revealed.

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New Lalbagh shows the way, drop by drop

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