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India’s oldest botanical garden

  • Published
    31st Dec, 2022

A West Bengal-based environmentalist has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to take immediate action for saving the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden in Howrah.

What is Botanical Garden?

  • A botanical garden or botanic garden is a garden with a documented collection of living plants for the purpose of scientific research, conservation, display, and education.
  • Typically, plants are labelled with their botanical names.
  • Most are at least partly open to the public and may offer guided tours.

Acharya Jagadish Chandra (AJC) Bose Indian Botanic Garden

  • It is India’s largest botanical garden and is spread over 270 acres.
  • The gardens were founded in 1787 by Colonel Robert Kyd, an army officer of the East India Company.
  • It has about 12,000 specimens of as many as 1,000 species.
  • It is considered the ‘largest man-made plant kingdom’.
  • The garden is under the jurisdiction of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and the Kolkata Port Trust (KPT) has the jurisdictional command over the length of the river from Farakka to Ganga Sagar.
  • Some of its Plant collections:
    • ‘Great Banyan Tree’, a living wonder in the plant kingdom;
    • Branching palm (Hyphane thebaica) was introduced in Egypt;
    • Giant Water Lily (Victoria amazonica) brought from the Amazon river
    • Mountain rose or Venezuelan rose.

The pattern of Change in plant Introduction:

  • Well before the Rio Earth Summite. the way back in 1987 AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah adopted and implemented a well-planned decision of Introducing Rare, Endangered, and Threatened (RET) indigenous plant species, in the ‘Annual Action Plans’.
  • After the Rio Convention in 1992, the trend of introducing RET indigenous plant species has increased many folds.

Under Threat:

  • The garden has been highly impacted on its eastern fringe due to erosion by the Ganga River.
  • It may wash away parts of its fence and inner plantation soon.

Fund crunch

  • The cost of managing bank erosion is very high — around Rs 25 crore per km.
  • Both KPT, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), and the state irrigation department, asked for funds from the Union government for stopping erosion
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