June 14, 2009

WBFDC launches first-of-its-kind Tourism Peace Park in the country

KOLKATA,Thursday, June 11, 2009: West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) in association with Help Tourism has launched the first-of-its-kind Tourism Peace Park in Noam Chel Teesta situated near East of Teesta River and between Neora Valley National Park, Garumara National Park and Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. This part of the said area, North of Oodlabari is mostly under the management of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) and the South area is mostly managed by the Baikanthapur Forest Division, therefore a major concern is the conservation of the rich natural resources. This Park has been launched in order to promote Community Based Tourism (CBT) in the East Himalayas. This information was divulged by Supratim Raj Basu, Ecotourism Consultant, Help Tourism.

In addition, CBT initiators have tied up with ten villages in the North of West Bengal where they provide various activities such as home stays, trekking, nature study, camping, cycling, forest drive, cultural encounters of six different communities et al for tourists visiting the Park. The main idea is to develop Community Based Tourism (CBT) and provide support to maintain peace and harmony among different communities existing there. They also provide various packages of six nights and seven days ranging between Rs 500-Rs 1,000 per person, per day. According to their brochure most villages situated inside the Park are not known and no modern development has been undertaken there as yet unlike other parts of West Bengal. The inhabitants find their livelihood from nature around them. The area is home to several animals like leopards and elephants etc.

According to certain sources, the initiative for developing the Tourism Peace Park was led by Pallab Basu of Oodlabari Tourism Development Association, officials of WBFDC and Help Tourism members. They had their first meeting regarding the same in December 2008 at a factory of Assam Bengal Veneer Industries (ABVI). The meet was attended by 61 local stake holders from the several villages.

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