NDMC to procure 200,000 tulip bulbs, most ever

Sep 13, 2023 11:36 PM IST

New Delhi plans to plant 200,000 tulip bulbs this winter, up from 123,000 last year, covering a larger area. The New Delhi Municipal Council has issued tenders to purchase bulbs from the Netherlands, but aims to eventually grow its own tulips to reduce costs.

The annual tulip bloom in New Delhi will cover a much larger area during the coming winter season, as the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) plans to plant 200,000 tulip bulbs, up from 123,000 bulbs this winter and 40,000 last year, officials familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, adding that tenders worth 87 lakh have been issued to purchase tulip bulbs from the Netherlands.

Tulips in full bloom at Rashtrapati Bhawan in January. (HT Photo)
Tulips in full bloom at Rashtrapati Bhawan in January. (HT Photo)

According to an NDMC official, the civic body prepares for tulip plantation in August-September by inviting open tenders. “The horticulture department is going to purchase 200,000 tulips, and the work will be awarded to those bidders who qualify the bids,” said NDMC member Kuljeet Chahal on Wednesday.

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“The bulbs are planted in the second week of December, and it takes 30-40 days to bloom. The flowers bloom fully in February and remain for 25 to 40 days, sometimes lasting until mid-March,” said an NDMC official who declined to be identified.

Delhi’s lieutenant governor VK Saxena had previously announced plans to transform Delhi into a “city of flowers” by planting 500,000 bulbs in NDMC and MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) areas next year.

Every year since 2016, NDMC has imported tulip bulbs from the Netherlands at a cost of 30-40 per unit and planted them in areas such as Shanti Path, Talkatora Garden, Windsor Place, Central Park, Mandi House, Chanakyapuri, Lodhi Garden, Nehru Park, and AIIMS flyover. Shanti Path hosted the first-ever G-20 Tulip festival from February 14 to 26 this year.

However, NDMC plans to stop importing tulips from the Netherlands, and instead grow them in India itself. Earlier this year, it sent more than 52,000 tulip bulbs from last year’s batch to Himachal Pradesh in an attempt to replant them there.

“This year’s early rise in temperatures resulted in early wilting. The flowers were harvested after the stem dried up. The bulbs were carefully picked after the maturation cycle in March, kept in cold storage, and transported to the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, where trials are being held to indigenise the bulbs and reuse them the following winter,” said a second NDMC official.

Later, trials were conducted to re-pot these bulbs in the high-tech nursery in Lodhi Garden, which has temperature and weather control facilities, but the survival rate was low, said the official. “The survival rate influences the cost-effectiveness of the reutilisation process,” the official added.

If tulip production is indigenised, the cost of procurement will be reduced by xxxxxxx.

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