Flowers bloom in pollution belt

He proved the adage, nothing is impossible, by growing flowers over three acre when farmers of the district are shying away from cultivating their land with pollutants from industries, rendering them useless.

The thought of giving back to the nature prompted transport company owner Ajay Poddar to plant saplings in his farm, about two months ago. He pumped money into floriculture near Hirma, along the industrial belt. It is first of its kind in western Odisha and third in the state. He grows varieties of gerbera and roses there.

“It was possible because of the greenhouse, where flowers are grown in a controlled and pollution-free atmosphere,” said Poddar. To ensure adequate supply of water, automated drip irrigation system has been installed in the farm, he said.

He had hired two experts from Pune. They along with local labourers planted around 34,000 rose and 16,000 gerbera plants. About 1,600 to 1,800 flowers are plucked daily and supplied to Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, along with the local markets. “We plan to sell the produce in Raipur and Bilaspur markets, where these are in great demand during the marriage season,” Poddar said.

“Earlier, we used to procure roses from Kolkata. Customers often avoided buying the stale flowers. With the availability of fresh flowers, our sale has also increased,” said Gopal Samanta, a flower vendor.

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