Kashmir gets eco-tourism campsite
Visitors To Have Close Look At Wildlife Along Mughal Road
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Sep 24: In its endeavor to protect wild animals and attract high-end environment-friendly tourists, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has commissioned first-of-its-kind eco-tourism campsite in a Protected Area Network along the historic Mughal Road in south Kashmir.
The eco-friendly campsite has been set up in mesmerizing environs of the Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary in Shopian district of Kashmir division bordering Jammu’s Poonch district. Set up by the Wildlife Protection Department alongside a stream at Sukhsarai overlooking Mughal Road, the campsite is made of natural material mostly wood and grass besides all-weather tents have been pitched at the site.
Officials said the campsite will offer tourists to closely see wild goat Markhor, brown bear, musk deer, Tibetan wolf, common leopard and over hundred species of Avifauna.
The Minister for Environment and Forests, Mian Altaf, said Government is committed to protect wild animals and protect their habitat. “Eco-tourism is a conservation tool through which we can undertake these objectives. Campsite at Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary will be a model for other protected areas of the Valley,” Altaf told Greater Kashmir.
Altaf said Government has identified three more places for campsites including Daksum in south Kashmir’s Islamabad district. Wildlife Warden Shopian Wildlife Division, Intesar Suhail, said this is the first-of-its-kind eco-tourism camping site in the Protected Area Network in Kashmir valley.
“All efforts have been made to prevent any disturbance to fragile eco-system of the Sanctuary. “The tourists who will stay at the campsite can enjoy the sight of Markhor besides 129 bird species and 20 mammals. The main objective behind the campsite is to develop love for wild animals and generate awareness for their protection,” Intesar said.
A protected area is a geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. The J&K Government has brought about 15,806.75 sq kms under the Protected Area Network, which comprises of five National Parks, 14 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 37 Conservation Reserves.
The campsite at near Rupri stream has fireplaces, nature trials and view points with thatched roofs. “We have received many bookings for the campsite. But we have restricted the number of tourists to just 20 per day. They can undertake trekking to Sukhsarai Mughal monument and old routes including gushing Rupri nallah. If all goes well hopefully it will emerge as one of the major tourist attractions of the Valley,” Intesar said.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been stressing for employing eco-tourism concept in the overall tourism development programmes to help conserve ecology and environment.
“Application of scientific methodology in developing tourist resorts in consonance with ecological requirements is the need of the hour to sustain State’s tourism potential for next generation,” the CM said recently.
The CM had made on-the-spot assessment of the campsite and formally inaugurated it. The Government has also involved local stakeholders as part of the ambitious project.
“We have formed an Eco-tourism Society comprising of locals to provide them with sustained livelihood. The campsite is open for general public and tourists on booking basis. But we will ensure that they must respect the wildlife and maintain sanctity of the eco-sensitive area,” said Regional Wildlife Warden (Kashmir), Manzoor Ahmad Tak.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 25 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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