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Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga says Rs. 517 million has been allocated for the development of botanical gardens in the country next year.
The Minister said that the Peradeniya, Gampaha, Hakgala, Seethawaka and Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens would be developed under this initiative.
The Ministry of Tourism has said in a media statement that Rs. 177.1 million has been allocated for the development of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, Rs. 60.5 million for the development of the Gampaha Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens and Ganewatta Herbal Gardens, Rs. 63.5 million for the development of the Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Rs. 25.58 million for the development of Mirijjawila Dry Zone Botanical Gardens and Rs. 24.2 million has been allocated for the development of the Seethawaka Wet Zone Botanical Gardens.
In addition, Rs. 47 million has been allocated for the development of infrastructure for the benefit of the flower growers. About 5,000 persons will benefit from the scheme.
Funds have also been allocated for the Meegalewa Haritha Piyasa Training Centre, arboretum and Plant Classification and Research Programme.
The Minister has said the government hopes to develop all the botanical gardens in the country under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism this year to attract local and foreign tourists.
The Minister was speaking at a media briefing held after an observation tour of the Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens, Hambantota
Considered to be the largest of the five botanical gardens in Sri Lanka, the Mirijjawila Aquatic Botanic Garden is the only botanical garden in the dry zone of the country.
More than 200 acres of this 300 acre Botanic Gardens have been developed so far. There are 52 trees planted by 52 heads of state who visited the island during the CHOGM 2013 to symbolize the occasion.
The Botanic Gardens was opened to the public on November 14, 2013.
The garden is designed for the conservation of plants endemic to dry and arid regions of Sri Lanka. The 28 paths in this botanical garden are named after the plants. Conservation of wet zones in the dry zone is also done in this botanical garden. It is home to many local and foreign cactus plants. It is also the only botanical garden with a desert form