Much to the embarrassment of Floriculture Department, Asia’s largest garden at the foot of fascinating Zabarwan hills was thrown open for public on Saturday without ‘blooming’ tulips. Holding mercurial weather of Kashmir responsible for the mess, Director Floriculture Sunil Misri told CNS that tulips would start blooming once temperature will increase.
With much fanfare, Tulip Garden was thrown open for public by Divisional Commissioner Shalender Kumar who was accompanied by some top administrative officials. Much to the annoyance of the people present there and especially tourists, there were hardly any blooming tulips there. “I expected a colourful scenery here but was totally disappointed,” a female tourist from New Delhi Shobha Rani told CNS adding that they were misled about the presence of Tulips in the Garden.
A local who was in the garden along with his family said that it looked a barren land for them as there are no tulips.
“Majority of the tulips are yet to bloom due to chilly winds following heavy snowfall and rains during the month of March. The drop in temperature due to recent snowfall has led to delay in blooming of the tulips. As soon as the day temperature will start to rise, the tulips will start to bloom,” District Floriculture Officer Nazir Ahmed told CNS adding that due to inclement weather there was a delay of 11 days against 2013 when the garden was thrown open on March 26 because of good weather during February and March.
Director Floriculture Sunil Misri said that blooming of tulips is subject to good weather. “If weather will not improve many tulips will not develop at all. It needs temperature ranging from 15 to 18 degree celesius to get these tulips bloom in full swing,” he said adding that this year are 10 lakh tulips in the garden which has already been auctioned to a private party for collecting entry fees from visitors.
Last year the garden was thrown open to public on March 26 as more than 45,000 tourists visited the Garden in the four-week period of tulip bloom. “It would be a great setback to the tourism industry, If weather would not improve in coming days,” said an official.
The idea of tulip garden was conceived by former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2007 to advance the tourism season in Kashmir by two months. The garden was inaugurated in 2008 and has been a hit with tourists as well as locals since then.