Hon.Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga reveals this during his visit to the Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens in Hambantota.
Rs.72 million has been allocated for the development of Botanical Gardens Island wide. Tourism Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga says that this money has been allocated for the next four months. Accordingly, most of the development works which are being carried out at the five botanical gardens is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
He stated this at a discussion held at the Mirijawila Botanic Gardens in Hambantota after his observation visit to the garden. The observation visit was conducted on 30th afternoon. The Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens, which is considered to be the largest botanic garden in Sri Lanka, is the only botanic garden in the dry zone of the country. Out of total 300 acres of the botanic garden, more than 200 acres have been developed so far. In this garden, there are also 52 trees planted by 52 Heads of the States who visited the island during the CHOGM to symbolize the historic occasion. The Botanic Gardens was declared open for the public on November 14, 2013. This is exclusively designed for the conservation of plants which are endemic to dry and arid zones.
The 28 paths in this botanical garden have been named by the names of plants. Conservation of wet zone plants within 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.
Hon. Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga paid special attention to the lack of publicity regarding the Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens. He emphasized that a special program should be launched immediately to attract the public to all botanical gardens in the country. Hon.Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga instructed the Director General of the Department of National Botanical Gardens to take immediate action in this regard. Hon. Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga said that Rs. 08 million has been allocated for the development of the land and road network of this botanic garden within the next three months. Summer stalls at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya will be renovated to enhance the tourist attraction. The government has allocated Rs. 25 million for other development activities of the garden. Rs.11 million has been allocated for the development of the Seethawaka Botanic Gardens. Rs. 05 million has been allocated for the development of the land of the Gampaha Botanic Gardens.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga stated that the Botanic Gardens will be developed soon as tourist attractions. Hon. Minister said that development works are being carried out by giving priority to natural beauty of the gardens.
Hon.State Minister, D.V. Chanaka and the Director General of the National Botanical Gardens were also present on the occasion.