Happiness in the air — a green lung space from a big heart

first_imgProsperity is a pre-condition to charity. But between the two lies the connector and facilitator called generosity, an essential. A small entrepreneur in Bhawanipatna, district headquarters town of Odisha’s Kalahandi, has converted his 12-acre farm into a park where the general public enjoy unhindered access.50-year-old Pramod Khamari, a businessman running a small hotel chain in this western Odisha town, started off dirt poor and became rich. And, it’s his way of paying back to society. He named ‘Bhagirathi Park’ after his father.On the outskirts of Bhawanipatna, with its meticulous landscape planning and features, Bhagirathi Park is on par with any in bigger urban centres.On any given holiday, the park is teeming with visitors not only from Kalahandi, but also from neighbouring districts such as Balangir, Nuapada and Rayagada. It’s also an integral part of the itinerary of tourists from Chhattisgarh coming to this region.Why a park of all things? “I believe parks reflect the quality of life of a community. But, Bhawanipatna, where I have grown up and succeeded in life, did not have a proper green lung to breathe. I realised that my 12-acre mango orchard could contribute to creating happiness and fill the major vacuum. I decided to make it a park which should be a gathering place for people irrespective of their age and social status,” said Mr. Khamari.It was not an easy task to translate the fancy idea into reality. One, funding was difficult. Since the park was close to his heart, Mr. Khamari decided to pay for it from his other ventures. Even harder was to organise everything and make it run efficiently. He found a motivated friend in Rabindra Patnaik, a science teacher in the local government high school.After visiting a few parks in Odisha and elsewhere, both carefully prepared the park’s landscape without disturbing the orchard. Children’s corner, water fountain, variety of flowering plants, replica of different wildlife and statues of gods and goddesses were placed as per a detailed plan.Bhagirathi Park is distinct from others in its use of waste materials and typical traditional tribal huts depicting tribal life and their customs. “Used bottles to prepare figurines, discarded commodes for planting saplings and other waste materials have been utilised to send out a message on environment. Of late, it has turned into a laboratory for local school and college students,” said Mr. Patnaik, who upkeeps the park without any remuneration.To avoid non-serious visitors, the management charges ₹20 entry fee per person per day.last_img

Tagged: Tags

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *