| Journy through Bangldesh
28 thousand kinds of plants
Md. Abul Kashem
Tushar Kanti Basu is the owner of an estate that houses about 28 thousand breeds of plants. His gardens have fruit bearing plants, herbs, spices, medicinal plants and other kinds. The continuous effort and hard work that Mr. Basu has instilled into his estate has finally been paying off now. Trees that were planted only a couple of years ago are already bearing ripe fruits ready to be plucked. Tushar Kanti has been officially declared one of the best garden estate owners by the government and currently awaits a national award for his extraordinary work.
Mr. Basu, a resident of Dighinala Upazilla of the Khagrachhari Hill Tracts, is a well known contractor of his time. He has designed a twelve and a half acre estate of gardens in the area surrounding the Upazilla orphanage. There is a lake within the boundaries of the estate which provides easy access to water. Various types of plants have been planted in different small gardens in accordance to the different categories they belong to, like fruits, herbs, shrubs, spices, etc. It has been only two years that the mango trees have been planted and these are already producing fruits. There are about six hundred mango trees of the fine Amra Pali breed. Mr. Basu tells us that they will be selling mangoes worth Tk.1.5 lakhs in he coming mango season.
Some of the other plants that are grown in this beautiful garden estate are grapes, pineapples, papayas, lychees, blackberries, bananas and olives. Thai star-fruits of four different colors, apples, oranges, Burmese mangoes, sharifas, cashew nuts, guavas, coconuts, beetle nuts are some of the other fruits from the gardens that deserve special mention. Grown in the gaps between the fruit bearing plants are planted spices like turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, cinnamon, etc. There are also three different breeds of sandalwood trees and, the Rashna plants which have medicinal values for the treatment of broken bones.
The gardens are well protected by iron-gates and a net fencting along their outer boundaries. Ten people are engaged for the maintenance of the estate every day. Many people from far and around the place often come to visit the gardens. It has become a model and a source of inspiration for many local farmers.
Mr. Basu says that as a child he used to see his mother plant trees and care for them till they grew up to produce fruits. This was his inspiration to eventually start gardening himself. In 2004, he started working on the gardens with only five acres of land. Then on the advice of the local horticulture and farming sector he decided to expand his gardens over another seven acres of land.
Tushar Kanti's garden estate has aroused much enthusiasm among farmers and ordinary people of the surrounding areas. People often visit his gardens to learn more about gardening and to buy plants for their own gardens. The planning, design, decoration and maintenance of the gardens that we see today are the results of a lot of hard work and effort, says Mr. Basu. One of the difficulties that he faces even today is that water has to be pumped to the land by the help of motors powered by generators due to lack of electricity in the locality.
The owner of this amazing and breathtaking garden estate is, despite his extraordinary achievement in this field, very disappointed with the local Government banks. He says that the entire process of putting the gardens together, right from the beginning to date, has cost him almost Tk.20 lakhs. He tried to get some loan from the banks and took the bank representatives for a tour of the estate to convince them about his commitment to the work he was doing. However, they refused to lend him any money. Mr. Tushar Kanti Basu says that sadly enough it is the middle class and the lower-middle class farmers that suffer such discrimination by the local banks. So, to help these fellow gardeners and farmers in his own way, he has arranged to sell plant seed and baby plants to them from his own gardens at an affordable price.
Translated by : Izmet Nashra Khan
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