Staff Reporter

Horticulture Department properties to be developed in four hill stations

Bheemanakolli to be developed into a picnic spot

Six flower markets to be established in the State

BANGALORE: In future, your visits to some of the hill stations in Karnataka could be more educative than you thought.

To increase the botanical knowledge and also provide an entertainment space for tourists, the Horticulture Department has proposed to develop its existing properties in four hills stations in what officials termed it as “Horticulture Tourism.”

Horticulture Department properties in Kemmangundi, Nandi Hills, Ooty and Biligiri Ranga (B.R.) Hills will be developed during this year with introduction of ornamental flowers and landscaping plants to attract tourists. Similarly, Bheemanakolli, near Kabini backwaters in Mysore district that is home for large herds of Asiatic Elephants and Tigers, will also be developed into a picnic spot.

Horticulture Department Director Ramakrishnappa told The Hindu that the proposal would not only help in educative purposes, but can also create infrastructure for tourists visiting these places. “We intend to start a flower garden on our 30-acre property in Ooty, which would also become a revenue earner for the department,” he added.

Further, he said that the department owned a 200-acre property at Bheemanakolli that housed a horticulture training institute. Existing infrastructure could be upgraded, which could be used to provide accommodation for people wishing to visit tourist places in the vicinity, he added.

According to a senior department official, the project involves development of botanical gardens, landscaping the area and others to make these properties full-fledged facilities for ‘Horti-eco-tourism’.

“The department owns around 160 acres in Nandi Hills, which is being developed apart from another 200-acre property in Kemmangundi,” the official said.

Apart from the development of horticulture tourism, the department has also proposed to government for upgradation of infrastructure. “We want to upgrade eight horticulture training centres at places, including Gadag, Alamatti, Hidkal, KRS, Karkala and Siddapura, besides setting up of a bio-technology centre at Belgaum on the lines of the one functioning in Bangalore,” Additional Director S.V. Hittalmani said.

Mr. Hittalmani said that six flower markets would be established at Mysore, Kodagu, Sirsi, Udupi, Tumkur and Belguam to help flower growers sell their produce at an organised market place.