Baramulla: The Forest department has set up an Eco Park in Rajpora village of Kamraj Forest Division, 26 km from the Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Spread over 100 kanal, the park is dotted with numerous deodar and other trees.
It has a proper seating arrangement for visitors and is decorated with colourful wooden wild animals replicas.
The park also boasts washroom facilities for visitors.
The work on the park was started in March 2020 but due to Covid-19, the work got delayed.
An official of the Forest department said that the park was set up to develop the area as a tourist resort.
He said that most residents of the Rajpora, Rampora area do not have a permanent means of livelihood.
“We developed the Eco Park here to boost the economy of the region which will pave way for a dignified living of the locals,” the official said.
He said that the forests in the area had witnessed a huge in the past with the ruthless felling of green gold by the timber smugglers and dozens of people were slapped with PSA over timber smuggling.
“We want to change the mental setup of the locals so that instead of harming the forests, they will become saviours of the jungle and we have succeeded to a large extent,” the official said.
He said that the department believes eco-tourism plays a vital role in raising awareness of sustainable forest development, motivating people to conserve forests, and providing economic, social, and cultural incentives for the local people while staying environmentally friendly.
The official said that all necessary steps were being taken by the Forest department to attract visitors across Kashmir to visit the park and cherish its beauty.
Meanwhile, the locals are thanking the Forest department for setting up the park in their village.
“It will certainly boost the economy of the area. Otherwise, locals didn’t have many avenues of earning livelihood here,” said Muhammad Akbar, a local who works as a government teacher.
The residents urged the Forest department to construct a rest house in the area so that the visitors visiting Eco Park could also stay for the night.