Mini Lalbagh taking shape in East Bengaluru

Work in progress in Kannamangala near Whitefield to create a mini Lalbagh. DH Photo/Niranjan Kaggere

The elite seed coconut farm in Kannamangala near Whitefield on Hoskote road and the unsightly land around it will be transformed into a botanical garden christened as East Lal Bagh.

Spread across 152 acres, the coconut farm, which is a unit of the State Horticulture Department, is home to about 3,500 coconut trees of different varieties. The department is all set to lay out a botanical garden, giving lung space to the citizens of Bengaluru’s biggest IT corridor. The project was proposed four years ago but the groundwork had not begun for want of funds. The project is estimated to cost around Rs 1.5 crore, according to officials.

Similarly, the work on setting up similar mini botanical gardens on the lines of Lalbagh at Chikkaballapur, Tumakuru, Mysuru and Uttara Kannada (Sirsi) are in full swing, according to horticultural officials.

As the farm already encloses a thicket of coconut trees, the department is planning to sow suitable saplings in the habitat. The existing coconut palms are utilised for mixed cropping, multi-tier cropping, border cropping and intercropping. “We will plant shade plants that include flowering plants like orchids, spices and condiments, beverage crops, fodder grasses, timber trees, palms and buffalo grass. Coconut palms are the base plantation in various cropping systems. It has the potential to produce more high-value crops,” said N Jagadish, Joint Director (Parks and Plantations), Horticulture.

Work like installing irrigation network has been done and a 2 km walking stretch is being constructed now.

The garden might also include an amphitheatre and butterfly garden including signage everywhere helping visitors. The safety measures are being taken against coconuts falling.

“The coconut trees adjacent to pathways are to be installed with basket made of cast iron. For the remaining trees, regular checking should be done,” said Jagadish.

The coconut farm has been maintained by the department for abut 35 years now. The farm is facing a severe water crisis.

“We need at least 20 litres of water a day. To cater to future water needs, we will
use treated water from industries around. We have completed rejuvenating the existing borewells and drilling of four new borewells have been completed. We have also installed pumpsets and sprinkler irrigation systems,” added Jagadish.

This mini Lal Bagh is an expansion of the existing botanical garden in the city which serves as a refreshment to the citizens in East Bengaluru.

“We cannot expect the same footfall as in the main Lal Bagh. But we will popularise this mini Lal Bagh in future after it is established,” said another official from the Horticulture department.

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