The Chennai Corporation has netted an income of Rs. 1.41 lakh this year from a very unusual source — a mango grove.
After its expansion, the civic body inherited the 10-acre grove with 112 trees in Sholinganallur. It has leased out the grove for one year and the lessee can harvest mangoes from the 90 rumani, 10 banganapalli and 12 country variety trees and earn from the sale of the fruits.
Situated behind the Chennai Corporation market complex in Sholinganallur, the grove, which has wild creepers running all over, has 10 palm and two coconut trees as well.
S. Ramesh, Councillor of Ward 198, who was the chairman of the erstwhile Sholinganallur panchayat, said the land belonged to the government, but village elders had decided to plant mango trees on it long ago. “Local people, who sell mangoes and know about the trees, usually take the lease. However, this time the lease got delayed a little and so they would not have had time to spray insecticide during the flowering season. They will also clean the grove,” he said.
C. Soundarajan, who has taken the lease, said that this year, the trees haven't borne as many fruits, as last year there was a bountiful harvest. “We also could not water the trees during flowering. We will have to wait and watch the prices of the fruits during the season and see if we can make a profit. We can also bank on flowering of the trees during monsoon, which we call Kaar Kaai. A few trees bear kilimooku mangoes that can be sold raw for pickle making,” he said.
S. Ravindran, a resident of Sholinganallur, said the grove could be opened to the public during off-season. “Locals can use it to walk and exercise. A kind of eco-park could be developed. The place should also be cleaned as it has lots of snakes,” he said.