Udhagamandalam: The need to provide better facilities for tourists was emphasised by the Khadi Board Minister K. Ramachandran while participating in the valedictory function of the eighth Rose Show organised by the Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops at the Centenary Rose Park here on Wednesday.
Adverting to the steps being taken to help the farming community and promote horticulture, he said that over the last three years about Rs. 22 crore had been spent in the Nilgiris under various schemes like the National Horticulture Mission.
Equal importance should be given to the promotion of tourism with stress on improving amenities like public conveniences and clean drinking water, he said.
The Agri-Export Zone concept which had come into being here to promote floriculture should serve its purpose and efforts should be made to get better prices for the produce of the flower growers, the Minister said and added that the Centenary Rose Park should be expanded.
The Director of Horticulture and Plantation Crops B. Chandra Mohan said that about 50 hectares were under floriculture in the Nilgiris and the production was around 40 to 50 lakh stems per year. The conditions in the Nilgiris were ideal for cultivating flowers.
Nilgiris Collector Anandrao V. Patil, who presided, said that a number of events have been included in this year’s summer festival. Stating that the number of tourists visiting the Nilgiris was steadily rising, he added that during 2006 it was about 22 lakh and the following year 22.75 lakh, 23.62 lakh during 2008 and so far this year the number of visitors to the Nilgiris had touched 6.73 lakh.
MLA representing Udhagamandalam, B.Gopalan, said that the economy of the Nilgiris was mainly dependent on tourism.
Nilgiris Rose Society (NRS) president K. Krishnakumar hoped that in the conduct of similar events organisations like the NRS would be involved.
Udhagamandalam Municipal Council Chairman R. Rajendran; Additional Collector T. Abraham and the Vice-Chairman of the Council J. Ravikumar also spoke.
Joint Director of Horticulture A. Sankaran welcomed the gathering. Mr. Ramachandran distributed prizes. Assistant Director of Horticulture S.C. Ramalingam proposed a vote of thanks.