By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun/Khatima, 28 Dec: Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami will inaugurate the ‘Surai Ecotourism Zone’ and ‘Kakra Crocodile Trail’ in Khatima tomorrow. The ‘Surai Ecotourism Zone’ will be the first such ecotourism zone in the state where tourists can enjoy jungle safari. Till now, jungle safaris are operating only in National Parks and Biosphere Reserves (protected area) in Uttarakhand.
Apart from this, the ‘Kakra Crocodile Trail’ will be the first crocodile trail in the country where tourists will be able to get very close and see the dangerous species of Marsh Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) safely. Both these schemes are in line with Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami’s earlier announced ‘CM Young Ecopreneur Scheme under which self-employment opportunities are being created by connecting the economy of the local people of Uttarakhand with forests and wildlife. Under this scheme, the target is to make 1 lakh youth ecopreneurs.
Sandeep Kumar, DFO of Terai Eastern Forest Division, said that an innovative scheme was being implemented to connect the people of Khatima surrounded by forest area with environmental protection and self-employment. The main objective of this scheme is to make Khatima and the surrounding area a prominent place in the tourism map, which has been backward from this point of view.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had expressed desire that the Surai forest area be converted into an eco-tourism zone by systematically developing the ‘Terai Eastern Forest Division’, which has biodiversity and wildlife, so that its natural beauty could be made optimum use of to provide direct and indirect employment to the local people. In this connection, the plan is being implemented by the forest department by dividing it into four parts. These include setting up of the Surai Ecotourism Zone, Kakra Crocodile Trail, Khatima City Forest and Chuka Migratory Bird Centre. Kumar added that the construction and development work on Surai Ecotourism Zone and Kakra Crocodile Trail scheme has been completed, while the process of development of Khatima City Forest and Chuka Migratory Bird Centre has begun. Dhami is going to launch the Jungle Safari and Kakra Crocodile Trail in Surai Ecotourism Zone on 29 December.
Surai Ecotourism Zone is spread over an area of 180 square kilometres. It is bordered by the Sharda Sagar Dam in the east, Khatima Nagar in the west, Melaghat Road in the north and Pilibhit Tiger Reserve area in the south. This naturally beautiful forest area is rich in Sal trees, pastures and water. Due to all these reasons, the movement of tigers continues here. Apart from this, about 125 species of mammals, more than 150 species of birds and about 20 species of reptiles are also found in this forest area. By developing the forest routes here, a trail of about 40 km has been prepared for jungle safari, in which tourists sitting in gypsy vehicles can see rare wild animals (Royal Bengal Tiger, Bear, Chital, Sambhar, Barking Deer, Pangolin, Coral Snake, Panda, etc). Along with this, one can enjoy the picturesque forests, meadows, ancient Sharda Canal and beautiful ponds.
Kakra Crocodile Trail – Kakra Nala is situated on the western boundary of Surai Ecotourism Zone. This creek is the natural habitat of the Marsh Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). This species of crocodile found in freshwater sources has become extinct in many countries like Bhutan and Myanmar. This egg-laying species is considered extremely dangerous. At present, there are more than 100 marsh crocodiles in this water body. In order for tourists to easily see these crocodiles, 4 kms of channel fencing has been developed as ‘Kakra Crocodile Trail’. This will be the first Crocodile Trail in the state. Three view points and several watch towers have been built in the trail so that crocodiles can be seen up close in a safe way.
By Our Staff Reporter