DHENKANAL: The teak wood garden at Saptasajya here will soon be opened to public as an eco-tourism site. The garden has hundreds of teak plants that were planted during the British rule. Saptasajya is a valley surrounded by seven hills and has been luring thousands of visitors every day.
The Forest Department has decided to complete the eco-tourism site by year-end. Components like accommodation units, rest rooms for tourists, cafeterias, landscaping and beautification of the site are in the pipeline as a part of the project. At present, landscaping is being undertaken inside the teak garden which spreads over 30 acres of land.
Teak trees that were grown by the Britishers in Saptasajya at Dhenkanal I Express Photo
According to records of the Forest Department, the British grew these trees 72 years back. At least 2003 teak saplings were planted out of which, 156 were damaged in the 1999 Supercyclone and 2013 Phailin. The remaining trees provide a green canopy to the picnic site and enrich the ambience. To protect these trees, the Forest Department has even deployed a group of forest guards accompanied by a ranger and termed the place as a reserve forest.
In 2004-06, the then Collector Usha Padhee had planted 142 varieties of medicinal plants in the teak garden. After the Phailin, only 72 varieties of plants survived.
Divisional Forest Officer PK Sahoo said the teak trees were grown by the British in the forest and all efforts are being made to protect those and plant more. He said the State Government has sanctioned `40 lakh for the eco-tourism complex in Saptasajya, but another `20 lakh is likely to be spent for completion of the project.