DEHRADUN: In a first in India, Uttarakhand on Saturday inaugurated 'Bharat Vatika' which has the state trees of 28 Indian provinces and five Union Territories.
Established in a one-acre area in Haldwani of Nainital district, the Vatika aims is to promote national integration with the display of magnificent bio-diversity of the country.
"Our teams' effort took more than one-and-a-half years starting before March 2020. Each and every species was collected with great efforts. The bigger task was to acclimatise, save and propagate the species for survival in Haldwani. It is collective efforts that have borne fruits. The aim of Bharat Vatika is to promote national integration with the display of magnificent bio-diversity of the country," said Chaturvedi.
Herculean efforts went into the procurement of all the species were taken. After getting five plants of Puddock tree from Andaman & Nicobar Island, all of the specimens died despite every effort to conserve and save. Later, seeds of the tree were arranged and plants were obtained through those after trying to grow in different nurseries of the research wing.
"All these species are from different climes including tropical wet, humid, arid and semi-arid regions, areas which have evergreen forests and so on. Some plants could not bear the winters here, some summers so it became a task for us to bring this reality to fruition for over 18 months now, " added Chaturvedi.
First such an area in the country to depict all the state trees of different states of India in one place.
The Vatika showcases 24 species of trees from 28 states and 5 Union Territories with some species being state trees of more than one states which include Mango (Mangifera indica) being state tree of Maharashtra and Chandigarh, Khejari (Prosopis cineraria) being a state tree of Telangana and Rajasthan, Bargad (Ficus benghalensis) being a state tree of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, Peepal (Ficus religiosa) being state tree of Bihar, Haryana, and Odisha, coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) being state tree of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Hollong (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus) being state tree of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and Sal tree which is the state tree of Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand.
Apart from displaying important species like Bargad which also happens to be the national tree of India, Peepal, Sita-Ashok, it also showcases Naag-Kesar (known as ironwood) which is the state tree of Mizoram, famous Chinar tree of Kashmir, Chandan from Karnataka, highly aromatic Agarwood tree from Tripura, breadroot from Lakshadweep, Alestonia from West Bengal and the famous Puddock tree of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
It also has a Devadar tree from Himachal Pradesh, Rodorendran species from Uttarakhand and Sikkim, White Teak from Meghalaya and Neem, the state tree of Andhra Pradesh.
Interestingly, the research wing of the department, which helms the project, chose two girl students from a government school in Haldwani to inaugurate the Vatika. Khushboo Siyal and Harshita Kholia from class 12 Government Girls Intercollege, Dhaulakheda, Haldwani, inaugurated the Vatika. "This is an honour. We are overwhelmed and cannot thank enough," they said,
Sajiv Chaturvedi, 2002 batch Indian Forest Services officer, who heads the research wing of the state forest department, told The New Indian Express: "Mother Nature and our girl students are preservers of life as we know it today. We decided to request these children to signify this."