New Delhi, Jun 25: Mangoes are in season and city residents can now feast on a delectable range of the fruit from West Bengal, at a ‘Mango Mela’ here. Eclectic varieties of the king of fruits — Gulabkhas, Dilkhush, Amrapali, Langra, Fazli, Himsagar and Laxmanbhog — cultivated in various districts of the state, namely Malda, Murshidabad, and Bankura, have been brought here. The West Bengal government inaugurated the third editon of the Bengal mango festival here last evening. Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, Minister for Food Processing Industries and Horticulture of West Bengal government introduced the ‘Amrapali,’ a new mango variety that won several awards at a recent event in Kolkata.

Developed with help from the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswa Vidyalaya, this new variety is expected to be a huge hit among mango lovers. “This Amrapali variety of mango will one day become as popular as the Alphonso,” Debapriya Sarkar, a member of the Panchayat Department said. “We planted 37,000 trees in the last four years under the 100 days program of the MNREGA and what you are seeing here is the result of that ? a lot of care has gone into this and we are proud of our product,” he said. Babulal Mahato, a district nodal officer said, “Not long ago, Malda was the district that produced the best quality of mangoes.”

Besides the ‘Amrapali’ another new variety ‘Mallika,’ from Bankura, whose red soil gives mangoes their distinct taste, is expected to take up that mantle. Varieties like Fazli, Himsagar and Laxmanbhog have received 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.

From the juiciest variety to the sweetest, the Mango Mela has brought 2.6 metric tons of mangoes in an effort to popularise the Bengal variety of mangoes and to promote the ‘Mango Tourism’, which is coming up in Gour, in the district of Malda, the biggest mango producer in the state. “We plan to develop more such tourism in the years to come. One day, West Bengal will be known for its high quality mangoes outside the state as well just like the apples of Shimla and Kashmir,” Tamash Ranjan Ghosh, an official from Tourism Department said. There are also plans for private partnership for sale of the processed products, including jams and pickles at various outlets in Kolkata, he said.