- Published on Friday, 07 September 2012 13:28
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A substantial proportion of development activities of the Dry Zone Botanic Gardens at Mirijjawila has been completed. This 300-acre botanic garden, which is the sixth botanic garden in Sri Lanka, is the largest Botanic garden in the country. Land acquisition for this site was initiated in 2006 and the planting commenced in 2008. According to Dr. D.S.A. Wijesundara, Director General, Department of National Botanic Gardens, over 50% of the development activities have now been completed.
Construction of internal roads, laying a 2-km-long pipe line from the nearby Beragama lake to the site and construction of a water tank and reclamation of 3 reservoirs (kohombagas Wewa, Dematetta Wewa and Maliththangas wewa) for irrigation within the site have been completed. A visitor center, ticket counter and souvenir shops, 4 summer houses with toilets, 2 officers’ quarters, a field station, and an administrative office building are some other structures nearing completion. About 40% of the planting activities and the construction of internal roads have also been completed.
About 450 million rupees have been allocated by the Ministry of Economic Development for the above activities and the development activities are accelerated on the advice of Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development Dr. Wijesundara said.
The main purpose of the new garden is to conserve dry and arid zone plants of Sri Lanka (ex-situ conservation). The Garden will also provide opportunities for ecotourism and economic development in this area and model dry zone landscape improvement. Studies on lesser known and underutilized plants in the dry zone, herbal industry promotion, education and providing training on botany and floriculture to the students, researchers and public are some of the other objectives of the dry zone botanic garden.
Prompting floriculture through botanic gardens is a priority and as such a separate unit has been set up within the gardens for popularization of floriculture in this area. A considerable amount of foreign exchange is being earned by floriculture. Necessary guidance and support for the project are being provided by Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development and Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary, Ministry of Economic development. “We are doing this under the Divi neguma program of the Ministry of Economic Development to uplift the economy of the people in the area through the promotion of cut flowers and foliage plant cultivation. Already many training programs have been conducted for the interested growers. As the Mattala International Air port and the Magampura port are in the close proximity floriculture in this area will soon become a very lucrative export earning industry” Dr. Wijesundara further emphasized.