Flower High

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An accursed flower holds hope for the backward district of Vaishali in Bihar. The Ketaki flower, which according to Puranic legend was cursed by Shiva for being a false witness for Brahma in a dispute the latter had with Vishnu, grows in abundance in this district and is known for its aroma. It will now be scientifically cultivated and its oil extracted for making perfume. Till now, the extraction of such aromatic oils for making ittar (perfume) had been limited to the unorganised sector. But Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked the agriculture department to help people of the district cultivate the plant. He wants to set up modern extraction facilities and market the extract from the flower in order to get a good price. A master plan is being drafted, and officials say the flower has the potential to boost the district’s economy. The curse is set to finally wear off.