Shimla, March 28
Himachal’s first Ethno Botanical park aiming to conserve the endangered, vulnerable species of plants and trees of Kangra, Una, Bilaspur and Hamirpur Districts in lower Shiwaliks hills, is being set up. It is being planned in a 26.10-hectare Androli on the forest(UPF) area in Bangana sub-division of Una District in Himachal Pradesh said Virender Kanwar, Rural Development Minister. It is adjacent to Govind Sagar Lake.
The construction work in the park started in Feb 2022 and will be completed by August 2022. The Ethno Botanical park, is being developed by the forest department in convergence with Rural Development and Tourism department. The project will cost around eight crore rupees, he added.
The aim is to associate young minds, nature lovers, and enthusiasts who want to learn about the region’s floristic biodiversity. The garden will be home to about 150 rare varieties of plants and trees spread across two blocks. “Many of these have been acquired from different nurseries,” stated Kanwar . One block would be set up adjacent to Govind Sagar lake to promote seasonal visits of migratory birds to the different wetlands situated in the district. This will facilitate bird photographers and admirers to promote tourism in the area. Another on the right side with lush green forest would feature 6-8 kM of the eco-trail, forest observation post, sitting areas. This part is naturally endowed with many plant species, he informed. The idea behind developing this is to learn while walking. All the species present here will have signages depicting brief descriptions of plants. A modern nursery is planned exclusively for promoting and raising species found in lower Shivalik, focusing more on native species. Nursery raising techniques for native species would be standardized and documented. Forest observation posts are planned at a strategic location from where one can feel the vastness of the entire stretch of the forest and the Govind Sagar Lake.
The main developmental activities will be undertaken in 2 hectares of visitors’ zone of the botanical garden, which will be made accessible for visitors, research scholars, students, and nature lovers.
He said some of the garden’s unique features include wooden bridges, a café, souvenir shops, parking facilities, wooden houses, gazebos, kids’ play area, and open gym.
It will generate employment opportunities for around 1000 people. The District administration has allotted about 4 crores to achieve the objective of Ethno Botanical park. HP Forest Department has allocated a budget for constructing a forest observation post.
Rain Water Harvesting Structure will be constructed in the park with an initial cost of around Rs 62 lakhs under the prestigious “Jal Bhandaran Scheme” to create water bodies that could store 8 – 10 lac litres of water.
Una Forest Division is planning the creation of an Interpretation Centre and undertaking other developmental works with an estimated cost of Rs 2 crore during the next financial year, Minister said. Eco Trails or Eco tracks are being planned for the whole area to uncover the hidden plant biodiversity under the Eco-Tourism Livelihood Programme. Around 8-10 KM, eco trails would be made from locally available stones to cover the entire area. There are around ten different sections at the park based on the category of plants. The laser area, night garden and butterfly park are expected to attract many tourists, while the greenhouse and Ayurveda garden will be the venue for botanical knowledge sharing. A solid waste management facility with a special focus on plastic waste is being also envisaged. He added that this would collect, sort, and reuse the plastic waste generated in and around this facility.