New Delhi: Mangoes and the Indian summer were always inseparable, with the literature and poetry of the whole sub-continent being full of numerous nostalgic and glowing references to the elaborate ways of savouring the mouth-watering varieties of the juicy and tasty delight to beat the scorching tropical heat.
To provide a memorable treat to the fruit connoisseurs of Delhi during the summer season and to promote the eclectic range of mangoes produced in West Bengal, the State Government organized a special “Mango Mela” at Dilli Haat, INA from 10th-30th June, 2014. This was the 2nd Edition of Bengal Mango festival being held in Delhi, which was inaugurated on June 10 by Shri Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury, Hon’ble Minister for Food Processing Industries and Horticulture, West Bengal, in the gracious presence of Shri Bhaskar Khulbe, Additional Chief Secretary and Principal Resident Commissioner, Government of West Bengal.
The exhibition, which was on display at the AC Lounge of Dilli Haat from 10th-30th June, brought together delectable varieties from the State’s Malda and Murshidabad districts such as Langra, Fazli, Himsagar, and Laxmanbhog, the last three having received the coveted registration under the Geographical Indication (GI) Index. A GI is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality. For the first time, “Amrapali” mangoes from Bankura, successfully grown under a convergence programme with MGNREGS, were available towards the end of the Mela. The project for creation of 163 big mango orchards in Bankura under MGNREGS won a special award from the Union Rural Development Ministry in February this year.
This year the State Government, in collaboration with National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD), had embarked on a special effort to transport the Mangoes directly from the orchards in the hinterlands of Bengal to the National Capital on specially equipped refrigerated vans, with a meticulously planned supply chain, involving week-long cycles, to ensure the freshness of the fruit offered to the discerning buyers of Delhi.
Efforts are also on to tie up with the indigenous processed food units of the State involved in the production of Mango pulp, syrups, squashes etc., with bulk buyers like departmental / lifestyle store chains, in collaboration with the National Horticulture Mission.
Processed mango products such as juice and pickles were also the special attraction during the fair. To ensure greater footfalls at the exhibition, select handloom and handicrafts from Bengal, such as ‘Nakshi Kantha’ (traditional needlework), Shantiniketan embossed leather goods, Shantipuri sarees, terracotta costume jewellery, wooden masks, clay dolls as well as Darjeeling Tea were on sale at Dilli Haat during the period. Cultural soirees were organized at the amphitheatre of Dilli Haat on 14th, 21st and 28th June, with “Baul” and Sufi Qawwali songs bringing out the vibrant, rich and living folk heritage of Bengal.
Correction: The National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD) had earlier erroneously been called “National Cold Chain Board” in this article. The error is regretted.