Junaid Nabi Bazaz
Srinagar: The Tulip Garden, whose opening has become an annual ritual for the government, costs the exchequer Rs 3 crore and earns it Rs 73 lakh annually.
The garden, thrown open on Monday by chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, generates revenue only by ticketing visitors. Last year, 1.5 lakh tourists visited it, floriculture officer Nazir Ahmad Reshi told Kashmir Reader.
The floriculture department spends Rs 60 lakh on importing tulips, while about Rs 70 lakh is the annual wage bill of 113 casual labourers, about 96 lakh on the salaries of 41 permanent employees and Rs 70 lakh on other activities such as purchase of fertilizers and manure and irrigation.
Located at the foothills of Zabarwan mountain range and overlooking the Dal Lake, the garden was spread over 30 hectares (1 hectare is about 20 kanals), out of which Tulips are grown over 18 hectares.
The garden, opened in 2007 by former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, showcases about a million tulips imported from Holland. Currently, the garden has 3.5 lakh tulips. The number will increase by the day.
Justifying the higher spending than earning, Nazir said the purpose behind setting up the tulip garden was not to earn revenue but to attract tourists so that they can spend in other ways once they arrive in the Valley.
In the past seven years, director floriculture Sunil Misri said, the number of visitors to the garden doubled from 75,000 to 150,000, which he believes is because of the garden’s pull. However, a sizable number of these visitors are local residents.
Located on the foothills of Zabarwan mountain range and overlooking the picturesque Dal Lake, Tulip garden is spread on 30 hectares out of which Tulips are grown over 18 hectares.
Formerly known as Siraj Bagh, the garden was used for producing different varieties of flowers. Although it is thrown open in the first week of April for a month, it takes an entire year’s preparation to make it bloom, Nazir said.