Lying untapped for ages, Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens’ largest Presidential edifice in the world – Rashtrapati Bhawan – has now caught attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project ‘Sweet Revolution’!  Taking cognizance of the nectar-producing gardens with the abundant flora and fauna, including lush trees of mangoes, Indian blackberries (jamun), Neem and drumsticks, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched an apiculture training course for the gardeners of President’s Estate on Tuesday at Rashtrapati Bhawan premises. As many as 50 gardeners participated in the course, started by KVIC.

Giving the details of the program, V K Saxena, the KVIC Chairman, said that the gardeners were apprised of the comprehensive scope and significance of apiculture, important considerations and tips to care and maintain the apiaries and value of beekeeping in maintaining the flora and fauna. “After training, the KVIC will install as many as 500 bee-boxes in different phases in the Rashtrapati Bhawan premises – having large greeneries. Besides producing more than 12,500 kilograms of high quality honey and 300 kilograms of good-quality wax every year, apiary will also boost the flora and fauna in and around the President’s Estate and increase the crop yield there by at least 25 percent,” he said, adding, “It is a joint project of KVIC and New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). The KVIC has also decided to set up as many as 5,000 bee-boxes this year in different gardens of Delhi, including Lodhi Garden, Talkatora Garden and Nehru Park, apart from the various reserved forest areas in Delhi. The NDMC authorities have also extended their support in our mission.”

Saxena further said that the KVIC’s apiculture experts delved upon honey bee species, colony organization, division of labor and life cycle of honey bees; management of honey bee colonies during different seasons. “The gardeners will also get practical training of examination of honeybee colonies, acquaintance with apicultural equipments, identification and management of bee enemies and diseases, honey extraction and wax purification, and management of bee colonies in spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter seasons,” he said, adding, “Our objective is to make the sweet nectar available to each and every family for their daily consumption, following the call of ‘Sweet Revolution’ given by our Prime Minister. Honey helps boosting immunity and purifies blood. Its medicinal value protects the body from major health problems like heart ailments and cancer.”

It may be noted that in the meeting with the officials of Rashtrapati Bhawan, held last month, the KVIC Chairman had suggested the Secretary to the President, to launch the ‘Honey Mission’ from there by setting up 500 bee-boxes, for which they agreed. On May 9, the KVIC had launched a five-day beekeeping course for inmates of Jail no. 5 in Tihar Jail.

Omita Paul, the Secretary to the President, in her address said that this initiative from KVIC would not only increase the yield of horticulture and floriculture in and around the President Estate, rather it would also boost empowerment among the women associated with different self-help groups. “The beekeeping program will be a bonanza for the 16,000 flowers and plants, recently placed in the Rashtrapati Bhawan premises. As this area has abundant trees, suitable for pollination, it will massively increase the yield of the crops in the neighboring areas,” she said.