Assam-Eco-tourism flourishes on banks of Chandubi lake

JORAMUKHURIA, Sept 20 – Setting a precedent, an entire forest village just 60 km away from the capital city has not only accepted the concept of eco-tourism but in an unbelievably short span of time has given a concrete shape to the concept by establishing a vegetarian eco-camp under the support of the forest department, the Borduwar Bholegaon Anchalik Rabha Students’ Union and Wave Eco-tourism. Named Chandubi eco-camp as it is surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful Chandubi lake, the camp, which is complete with cottages build above the ground with support of Sal trees, is the outcome of the whole-hearted involvement of people like Sanjay Rabha, Molen Rabha, Boloram Rabha and others. All villagers of Joramukhuria, these people do not have higher education, but are open to new ideas that can change their way of living and improve the overall status of their community.

It needs to be mentioned here that Joramukhuria is a village located on the fringe area of Loharghat range of West Kamrup Forest Division, and the economic condition of all the villagers belonging to the Rabha community is pitiable. Most of them depend on their boats as a means of livelihood and some till their land which does not produce enough to meet the yearly requirement of rice to sustain a family.

But what is significant about this village that struggles to survive is that before the concept of eco-tourism was explained to them by youths outside their village, they had, on their own initiative, started protecting the valuable Sal trees on the bank of the Chandubi lake.

Boatman on Chandubi Lake

Boatman on Chandubi Lake

“Many years ago, the bank of the Chandubi was full of Sal trees. But gradually the Sal trees began disappearing as it has high demand in the market. We became very concerned at this development as we forest dwellers are intimately connected to Nature and started protecting the remaining Sal trees,” said Molen Rabha. Molen has a boat to sustain his family.

When asked how the concept of eco-tourism caught his fancy, Molen said that he wanted ensure his children had a better future and that when the concept of eco-tourism was explained to him he readily embraced it as it would guarantee profitable income as well as protect the environment.

Sanjay, who is the camp manager said that all the people of his village have come forward to be a part of the eco-tourism efforts as they wanted a means of livelihood that was sustainable and ensured the well-being of the forest.

Apart from provision of taking tourists to sight-seeing, the camp gives the backpackers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Rabha community.

From Assam Tribune

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