Patna: Efforts to help promote eco-tourism begin

PATNA: While the famed Jim Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal earns an estimated Rs 350 crore annually through promotion of eco-tourism which attracts a large number of tourists to the area, the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar’s West Champaran district has not been so lucky given the government’s failure to promote the reserve area as a tourist destination.

Things are likely to change for better, though. For, field officials of Valmiki Tiger Reserve have now sent proposals to the Bihar government for undertaking works which would help in promoting eco-tourism in the reserve.

Among the proposals include improving the condition of forest roads falling under Division-II of the tiger reserve.

“We have sent a Rs 30-lakh proposal to the state government for undertaking this work,” Valmiki Tiger Reserve director J P Gupta told TOI on Wednesday. He said a similar proposal to improve the condition of roads in Division-I of the reserve would also be sent to the Bihar government very soon.

Pointing out that good roads are a must in order to attract tourists to the tiger reserve , Gupta said: “The present condition of forest roads in the reserve has proved to be major deterrent for attracting tourists. Even those who visit the reserve don’t get the opportunity to move around in the forest area and enjoy nature’s endowment.”

The tiger reserve director also intends to submit proposal for enhancing the accommodation capacity of the reserve’s rest house which presently has capacity to accomodate only four persons at a time.

“This is a step we will like to take once the tourist inflow increases,” he said.

Meanwhile, as a move to reach out to a maximum number of people giving authentic information about the reserve, the Valmiki Tiger Reserve authorities have decided to launch a website of the reserve. A part of Rs 1.08 crore fund received from Centre under the Annual Plan of Operation head would be used for the purpose.

“As soon as the state government releases the fund, the work for creating the website would commence,” Gupta said.

He said tourism promotion would help in involving locals in forest protection work which would, in turn, make them aware of the natural resources of the area as well as about the prospect of income generation.

“Once that happens they will come forward on their own to protect the natural resources of the area and keep a check on elements who try to use its resources for personal gains,” Gupta said.

From TOI

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