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Thursday, 13 October, 2011, 19 : 30 PM [IST]

Eco huts to be set up at Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar

The management of Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in Bihar has decided to set up six eco huts for tourists willing to spend quality time watching wildlife. Four such huts would come up in the Govardhana range of the reserve, about 280 km northwest from Patna. Two huts would come up at Valmikinagar range of VTR. These huts would have all the facilities that are offered at good hotels. Each hut would accommodate two persons. Rs four lakh would be spent to construct each hut. The construction would be carried out in accordance with the design suggested by professional agencies.

Santosh Tiwari, Director, VTR said,“The fund for this project has been provided by the district administration under the border area development programme. We intend to get these huts ready by the end of this fiscal.” As things stand now, VTR does not have dedicated residential facilities for visitors. The only option available is the rest houses of range offices.

Tiwari said tourists staying in the huts would be provided food. The service would be outsourced to local people. They would be selected on the basis of the recommendations made by the eco-development committee of the area concerned. “The selected people would be given training for serving the visitors professionally,” he further added.

The help of local administration would be sought initially for the security of the visitors. Later, this responsibility would also be given to local people. To promote the eco huts as a tourists’ attraction, the VTR management would seek help of the tourism department. It would give their details to the tourism department so that it could disseminate information among tourists about the facility.

Besides, the funds for constructing eco huts, the district administration has provided around Rs 22 lakh to the VTR management for purchasing items required for camp activities. They would be rented out to tourists. The rate of eco huts and the rent for hiring camping equipment would be worked out later. “Though tariff has not been worked out, eco huts would be a bit costly because they would offer all the facilities one gets in good hotels,” Tiwari said.

For tourists having low budgets, the VTR management has sent a proposal to the environment and forests department for developing an abandoned building near the Govardhana range office to introduce dormitory facility. “The VTR management has also sent a proposal for developing the rest house of Ganauli range into a heritage type of staying facility. This building used to be the rest house of Bettiah Maharaj. He used to stay in the two-storeyed building during his visits to the forest. One can see Himalayan range from this rest house in winter. “We have submitted a Rs 14.5 lakh proposal to the department for developing four suites in this structure. The permission is still awaited,” Tiwari stated.
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