“We will have another tulip bloom during September – October which will further extend tourism season,” said Parvez.
He said this year the department is experimenting on small area where few thousands of the tulips will blossom in autumn.
“If it is successful, we will have lakhs of tulip blooms in next year autumn season.”
When asked about the opposition shown by tour operators on keeping garden open for whole year, Parvez said the department wants to enhance the potential of this garden by utilizing the undeveloped and unutilized areas.
“When we developed tulip garden, we were welcomed as it pre-poned the tourism season. Now if we are doing something more to enhance its beauty and make it more glamorous, we are being criticized,” said Director Floriculture.
He said currently, tulips bloom on 120 kanals of land and the department will have more tulips on additional 40 kanals of land.
“The tulips will bloom on 160 kanals of the land in this garden and we will have 15 lakh bulbs in the next season instead of 10 lakh bulbs at present,” said Talat Parveez.
The Director Floriculture said the slope area of the garden which is undeveloped can be used for other flower varieties.
“We can have orchid blooms, cherry blooms and other flower blooms which will further attract more tourists round the year. We have devised this plan after having discussed it with experts. The travel agents and the tour operators are not experts. We did not open tulip garden after consulting tour operators,” said Talat. “The footfall of tourists has increased with the opening of the tulip garden and only travel agents and tour operators have taken its advantage.”
Talat said most of the portion of the botanical garden and less of the tulip garden will be covered for this purpose.
Meanwhile, Travel trade fraternity has taken strong exception to government’s proposal to plant more varieties of lowers at famous Tulip garden to keep it open for public for whole year.
In a statement, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance (JKTA) said Tulip garden is one of the most sought after places in Kashmir just for tulips.
“There are other gardens in Srinagar and on the banks of the Dal Lake where tourists visit round-the-year. There is no need to plant more varieties of flowers at Tulip garden which will defeat its purpose,” said JKTA Chairman Manzoor Pakhtoon.
JKTA has urged Floriculture department and other concerned departments to upgrade the facilities at the existing gardens instead of developing more.
“We don’t have good lavatory points at these gardens. Outside the gardens, there are no lavatory points. The government can instead further beautify the existing gardens to make them more beautiful,” said JKTA Chairman.
He said Pari Mahal is in ruins which needs to be improved instead of extending the time period of tulip garden.
Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) – J&K Chapter has also urged the department maintain the garden for tulips only.
“Tulip garden is now very famous and it is attracting tourists by March end and April also. When it will have more flowers, it can’t be named as Tulip garden and will lose its charm,” said TAAI-JK Chapter Chairman Shamim Shah.
Shah said government should re-think over this proposal.
“If other varieties of flowers are planted, then we will lose Tulip garden and this garden is the main USP for the State which will be lost. This decision will backfire,” said Shah.
Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) suggested the floriculture department to explore the idea at unexplored destinations.
“State has lot of land which can be used for such purpose. We can have rose garden but not at the same place for which floriculture department should explore other places,” said President TAAK.
He said there are some varieties of flowers which remain for longer period.
“Department can import flowers from various places around the globe and have one exclusive garden where these flowers can be displayed. But we fail to understand why the department will only use section of the tulip garden,” quested TAAK.