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NEWS|Current Affairs 
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New Delhi, Jun 18 (PTI) Mangoes from West Bengal\'s Malda and Murshidabad districts are enticing customers with sweet sounding varieties such as Anaras, Ranipasand, Himsagar, and Laxmanbhog, which are currently on sale here. The sale, which began on June 11 and scheduled to go on till the end of this month, is part of a Mango Festival organised jointly by the Agricultural Marketing department and the Food Processing industries and the Horticulture department of West Bengal. "Murshidabad district was once famous for growing more than 150 varities of mangoes. It is said that the nawabs of Murshidabad collected the varieties from all over India and planted them here. Nowadays, it has been observed that 95 per cent of farmers are tempted by high yielding varities like Himsagar and others are slowly dying out," says Gautam Roy District Horticulture officer, Murshidabad district. Safeda, Langda, Chausa, Dussehri and Alphonso are easily available in Delhi and north India but varieites such as Himsagar, Laxmanbhog and Ranipasand, that are indegenious to Bengal have been brought especially for the show. Himsagar, a musky sweet mango variety without any fibre, among the most popular variety in Bengal available between the second week to the end of June is difficult to be found elsewhere. The Himsagar alongwith the sweet Laxmanbhog, with its reddish tinged golden yellow skin, are both tagged under the protected Geographical Indication (GI) index. In West Bengal the season of mangoes begins from May to the middle of August. Varieties are catergories as early, medium and late maturing, there are table and sophisticated varieties also. "Laxmanbhog has good keeping quality and can be transported while Himsagar is a very sophisticated one that cannot tolerate travel," says Roy. "The Kahitoor mangoes,a shy bearing variety, is so soft that it has be collected in baskets lined with cotton else it gets spoiled. I tried to get some to Delhi but the farmers told me that the entire produce was pre booked at prices ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 300 per mango," says the official. Grown in over 28,000 hectare area mangoes in Malda have attained a high productivity of 8 MT/hectare with annual yields of 2, 25,000MT. MORE PTI ANS DBL ANS

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