SRINAGAR: Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, Baseer Ahmed Khan Saturday maintained that Jammu and Kashmir has huge potential for floriculture activities with modern farming technologies as game changer for J&K’s economy. The Advisor was speaking at a review meeting of Floriculture, Gardens and Parks Department here to discuss Floriculture Expansion Programme.
The meeting was attended by Commissioner- Secretary, Floriculture Department, Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad; Director Floriculture, Kashmir, Farooq Rather and other concerned officers. Director, Floriculture Jammu and other concerned officers from Jammu Division attended the meeting via video conferencing. Addressing the meeting, Advisor Baseer Khan called for trainings and awareness among the growers to educate them about the revenue potential of floriculture activities in their respective areas adding the department’s main focus should remain on revenue generation model and beautification of areas. He said that people in Jammu and Kashmir have surplus holdings of land which would be subsequently utilized for plantations of roseries, lavender or other ornamental plants and could be helpful in flipping up their income multifold.
The Advisor pointed out that there are several schemes with subsidy driven components while the need is to reach out to the growers so that they would be benefitted to boost their economy. Advisor Baseer Khan said that growing of flowers has a good market potential and private entrepreneurs could collaborate with outside agencies as the sector needs little or no infrastructure besides having suitable climate for cultivation. “Activities like cut flowers and dry flowers have lot of scope in J&K and people can be attracted through several schemes already in place,” he said. He directed the department to have further 5 to 6 attractions areas around Srinagar and elsewhere and also to explore options where there is state land available to utilize it for floriculture activities.
During the meeting, the Advisor was also informed that an extension plan for Tulip Garden, Srinagar is being worked out on the pattern of Japanese Cherry Tree Section (SAKURA) with the establishment of Theme Gardens (Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, Peony, Rose Gardens etc) to increase the span of tourist season. Similarly, Jammu will get Bougainvillea theme garden to attract tourist inflow to area. The meeting was also informed that the department is planning to establish Centres of Excellence, one each at Jammu and Srinagar, besides up gradation and mechanization of gardens and parks by way of providing world class infrastructure and civic amenities for visitors at major gardens and parks. The meeting was told that a proposal is underway for the mechanization of maintenance work to address the manpower shortage by procuring latest state-of-art garden machinery.
The Advisor impressed upon the officers to focus on areas where farmers’ income would be doubled so that their productivity would increase by facilitating their produce for sale in different markets. Suggesting several innovative ways to boost floriculture sector in J&K, the Advisor called for setting up of commercial floriculture parks in collaboration with other departments besides exploration of viable marketing channels for cut flower business with adequate cold-storage facility at the airports. He said that state land along National Highway right from Bari Brahmana should be utilized for beautification along the road stretches. He also asked for exploring options along the stretch to Katra Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine for floriculture theme parks. The Advisor directed Commissioner- Secretary Floriculture and Director Floriculture Kashmir to inspect the areas along river Jhelum and come up with a comprehensive plan for its beautification.