Ednburgh, Scotland 1st November 2023
The Asia Scotland Trust is pleased to announce an Initiative to Rejuvenate the AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden at Howrah, Kolkata, established on Hoogly River in the late 18th century. The Initiative is the result of a partnership between HSBC India and the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) along with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). On 13th September HSBC India announced significant project support in the amount of $750,000 (Rupees 6 crores) over three years. The Board of Trustees of the Asia Scotland Trust has worked closely with HSBC India and the BSI throughout.
The Garden, founded in 1787, is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the world. It covers 273 acres and has a unique and rare collection of tropical trees and shrubs. It also has a complex water system of 24 interconnected lakes and over the years the inflows have become polluted and clogged. This restoration Initiative aims to improve the ecological value of the Garden by cleaning the peripheral canal and the 24 lakes, repairing the connective sluice gates and the inflow channel from the Hoogly River. The work will also protect the mangroves along the riverbank which provide an important role in the biodiversity of the river. Tackling some of the
problems caused by outside factors will involve engaging with the local communities in order to raise awareness of the effects of pollution and working with them to reduce polluted water coming into the Garden. In addition, the Initiative will map the Garden and take stock of the damage caused by Cyclone Amphan in 2020.
The Initiative has an educational element which aims to provide the public with more information about the Garden and the array of species found there. It will raise awareness and understanding for the key projects of this comprehensive preservation Initiative with signage accompanied by in-depth descriptions, pictures, and drawings.
On behalf of the Trustees, Roddy Gow, Chairman said, “The Asia Scotland Trust is proud to be associated with this major undertaking which will help to give the Botanic Garden a new lease of life.” He stated further, “This restoration project will underline Kolkata's attraction as an environmentally conscious city, and enhance the public’s enjoyment of this historic ecological treasure for the thousands of visitors who come from Kolkata and beyond to the Garden every year to enjoy the natural beauty and stunning vistas.”
Dr Mark Watson, RGBE, 2023
The Asia Scotland Trust is a registered Scottish charity. Scottish Charity No. SCO45273. Companies House No. SC464144