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During my recent visit at Purulia I came across a pond studded with palm trees all around popularly known as TAL PUKUR. A serene cold wave ripples over the pond with birds cluttering through the pervading silence. I strolled through the hamlet thoroughfare dotted with series of palm trees on both the flanks which ignites my imagination how a green lashed undulated picturesque land where malnutrition was unheard of, topped the peak of the malnutrition table at one point of time. Probably the pictures above will tear apart the hitherto unearthed mystery. The dates and palm fruits strewed all over the pond bank and roads would have fed the babes and babies generations back. According to dieticians the fruit is enriched with proteins, calcium, phosphorous, ascorbic acid, iron and the B group vitamins etc which certainly used to plug the nutrition hyphen of the “starter generation” in the bygone days. Down the memory lane , DULALER TAL MICHICHRI was and is inseparable component of child health.

With the advent of time, these useful nutritious varieties fell prey to the vagaries of food habit and this idiosyncrasy spelt doom for the nutrition atlas of the district. These fruits once stocked in abundance vanished with the fading palm and date vegetation. This also blurred the potency of child health. Malnourishment in turn contributed to the social and economic backwardness.

Of late the district administration has taken up a unique initiative raising date and palm nurseries. The blocks like Raghunathpur(II), Balarampur etc. are raising nurseries with easily available date and palm seeds collected from the villages. Even in this days, a few villages will provide lakh of seeds which may be stacked on sand-base or rotten straw-bed for easy sprouting. As these plants stand out above the average plants used for RSP(roadside plantation), planting it inbetween RSP-plants will not disturb the existing plantation. Moreover its survival rate is higher being immune from goat bite. Even it is fit for bank and bund plantation.

Interestingly these neglected and uncared vegetation has become state-of-art plantation in five-starred hotels and district could promote it as ornamental plant as well, apart from juice , tal-gur, patali, talmichri etc. Talgur Mahasangha Samabay Samiti Ltd. was formed over few decades federating 164 primary societies having annual turnover nearing one crore rupee.

Out of estimated 1082.97 lakh palm trees in the country, 736.89 lakh plants are fit for commercial production but only 130.81 lakh trees are tapped for production. In the western districts like Purulia, lakhs of plantation will really change the rural economy and nutrition platter in this emerging regime of strong established metropolitan and non-metro retail chain and Amazon like web portal. This will usher in a new era in western arid zone.