Laxmibil (Tripura): Flowers abound in this sparsely-populated village in West Tripura district and no wonder it is called the Village of Flowers.
     
However, it was a different story just three years ago. Laxmibil village was like any other, wallowing in poverty and absence of gainful work till the Horticulture Department and Technology Mission stepped in and motivated people to start floriculture.
     
As it stands, the village now not only supply flowers to the home market, but also exports them abroad.
     
The flower story began when an unemployed youth Swapan Paul cultivated flower plants in his field on a suggestion by officials of the Horticulture Department.
     
He was just wasting away in the absence of anything worthwhile to do and now he earns a handsome Rs 35,000 per month by selling his flowers.
     
Soon other unemployed youths inspired by Paul's example took up floriculture as a profession. Now their ranks have swelled to more than 250.
     
The village's favourable agro-climatic condition has also helped script the success story.
     
Many people are now cultivating different kinds of flowers; some are experimenting with exotic varieties like Anthodium and orchids to earn good money.

''In the beginning various government organisations came forward with technical assistance. Now the villagers are doing it with their own efforts,'' an official of the Horticulture Department said.
     
Paul said he had started off with a financial assistance of Rs 3.5 lakh from the Technology Mission and constructed three high-tech green-houses.
     
“I started with cultivation of Anthodium, Gerbera and Carnation flowers and also took up orchid cultivation on a 2.5 -bigha land and started getting return within one and a half years. Now I also cultivate Chandramallika, Rose, Gladiolus, Rajanigandha and Lilia,” he said.
     
Paul said his flowers are sold in Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore.
     
''A Delhi-based company is now marketing a part of our production in return for 10 per cent commission which fetches a good amount,” Paul said.
     
Paul took part in the international floral-exhibition in Delhi and Gangtok in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
     
Rabi Das, another cultivator of the village said, ''Now there is no person in our village who cannot earn a decent living.''

(Agencies)