Gangtok 16th February:
The first International Rhododendron Festival which was inaugurated last year on 25th April in North Sikkim will be concluded in April during Ramnawami at Barsay, West Sikkim.
Speaking with the media Principal Chief Conservator cum Secretary of Forest ST Lachungpa informed that the concluding of the year long International Rhododendron Festival is under process and a district level meet at west district has already been conducted. The department of Forest has requested the Ministry of DoNER for some grant, about 25lakhs as the total cost estimated is Rs.50 lacs; the rest of the fund will be provided by the State government.
The festival was the first of its kind focusing a particular species in the nation. The festival played a vital role in attracting tourist to the state. Tourists now visit north Sikkim just to see the rhododendrons. The flowering of rhododendrons starts from mid of February till last week of June. After the completion of the festival people have understood the importance of the natural bio-diversity and now they are working for the preservation for the protection of the natural bio-diversity that exist in their surrounding.
The department of Forest has given importance to the general Bio-diversity. At present there a more than 38 species of rhododendron available in Sikkim.Being the first of its kind festival, it has brought the state in the nation and international limelight.
(Courtesy: Sikkim Mail)