With crores of people expected to attend the Mahakumbh Mela at Haridwar, farmers in Uttarakhand are gearing up to meet the demand for flowers, which is expected to do a business of over Rs. 400 crore during the nearly four-month period.

Over six crore people, including thousands from foreign countries, are expected to throng Haridwar during the period, Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told PTI.

The demand for flowers will rise manifold as hundreds of temples on the banks of river Ganga will be decorated with flowers besides being offered by pilgrims to deities.

With this much demand, the business of flowers is estimated to be over Rs 400 crore, officials in state Horticulture Department said.

Scientist at Centre for Aromatic Plant, Nripendra Chauhan said that Floriculture was encouraged in place of traditional crops in certain areas, including Haridwar and Chamoli, by providing plants and seeds free of cost to farmers.

Sources in Uttarakhand Horticulture Department said that over 10 lakh saplings were distributed across the state, especially keeping in view the Mahakumbh Mela, and about 4,565 hectare of land extended for flower farming.

The Mahakumbh Mela begins on January 14 and will continue till April 28. Officials said that as six crore people are expected to visit Haridwar, the demand for flowers may rise to thousands of tonnes.

Some other states will also help meet the demand for flowers, they said.