June 12, 2014
WB CM forms an eco tourism advisory board to boost tourism in Bengal
An eco tourism advisory board will also beset up to facilitate implementation of projects. The decision was taken at ameeting chaired by Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee with Forest Department officialsat Nabanna.
The board will primarily help incoordinating between different departments, earmarking locations in the forestareas where eco tourism projects can be undertaken and formulate the dos anddon'ts for undertaking the projects.
The Wild Life Act has provision for using20 per cent of the land within the forest areas for other purposes, providedthe ecology is not disturbed. Ms. Banerjee has asked forest officials to”think out of the box” and coordinate with their counterparts in theTourism Department for utilizing this 20 per cent land in implementing ecotourism projects.
In the wake of problems faced by touristsin booking lodges and bungalows through the over-pressured Forest DepartmentMs. Banerjee approved 50 per cent of the bookings through the TourismDepartment.
In Jaldapara, the Forest Department hadrestricted giving permission for booking elephant safari for the past twoyears. Prior to that, bookings could be done through the Tourism Department aswell. The board will help to iron out such differences.
The Chief Minister further stressed onmaintenance and supervision of bungalows and rest houses located in the forestareas. She pulled up the forest officials for the neglected condition of thebungalows. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme isalso being delayed in many forest areas, she pointed out.
Forest Minister Binoy Krishna Barman,Tourism Minister Bratya Basu and secretaries of the respective departments, aswell as the Panchayat Department, along with the district forest officials attendedthe meeting.