‘Reconsider decision to close Kallar horticulture farm’: Nilgiri Documentation Center

‘The problem of elephant migration is a symptom of weaknesses in management of protected areas’

September 16, 2022 05:00 pm | Updated 05:02 pm IST - UDHAGAMANDALAM

A worker of the horticulture farm at Kallar near Mettupalayam in Coimbatore holds a clutch of juicy rambutan. Representational image. File

A worker of the horticulture farm at Kallar near Mettupalayam in Coimbatore holds a clutch of juicy rambutan. Representational image. File | Photo Credit: M. PERIASAMY

The Nilgiri Documentation Center (NDC) has urged the government to reconsider the imminent closure of the government horticulture farm at Kallar. “The problem of elephant migration now is a symptom of weaknesses in the management of protected areas,” and the government should address this issue first, it has argued.

In a press release, NDC honorary director Venugopal Dharmalingam said, “The government pur­chased a fruit garden at Burliyar to grow tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees, some of which were rare. This was subsequently con­verted into a fruit research sta­tion. Besides finding suitable propagation tech­nique for mangosteen, jack fruit, durian, breadfruit, clove, this sta­tion was engaged in developing spi­ces and cocoa,” he recalled.

“In 1900, the government established the Kallar Fruit Station at the foot of the Nilgiris Hills on about 36 acres. Here, a large va­riety of tropical fruits, beverage species and medicinal plants were raised and related research was done,” he added.

The NDC said a government pomological research station was established at Coonoor in 1907, while a model orchard was attached to this station in 1949.

“The once-famed fruit culture in the Nilgiris gradually declined after Independence, giving way to vegetables, tea and ornamental parks,” he pointed out. The agro-climatic and soil conditions of the fruit garden at Kallar could not be replicated elsewhere.

“Elephants have traditionally migrated for food and water. The idea of sanctuaries and protected areas was evolved to restrict such migration within an earmarked area away from civilian life. The problem of elephant migration now is a symptom of weaknesses in managing such protected areas. The government should address this [issue] first,” he said.

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