The state Forest Department is making significant efforts to woo tourists to Gujarat. The state has nine per cent of the land under forest cover.
Twenty-nine eco-tourist spots have already been developed and 12 more will be developed this year. The state tourism department has allotted Rs 19 crore for the project.
Rajeeva, Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), Vigilance, Gujarat, said: “The 29 sites, identified in Vadodara, Valsad, Marine National Park Jamnagar, Mehsana and Rajkot forest circle have already been developed. The others in the pipeline will be readied soon”.
Rajeeva, who is also in-charge of the eco-tourism in the forest area, said: “Since the last three years, the sites have been identified by the Tourism Department and funds have been dispatched accordingly by the department.”
Meanwhile, R B Asari, Conservator of Forest, Surat Circle, said: “The site at Pandamdunri in the Unai forest range in Vyara taluka will be opened to tourists in two months time.
There are also plans to ensure that the forest produce fetches commercial benefits for the locals during the off-season, thus providing them with employment.”
In the Vadodara forest circle, the tourist sites at Udhal Mahuda, Nalda and Kanjeta in Dahod district, is about to be completed by November, he said.
“A site at Kevdi area of Chhota Udepur taluka of Vadodara district and an eco-tourist spot at Samli area in Panchmahals district is also slated to developed by this year end, said Jagdish Prasad, Vadodara CF.
An Interpretation Centre at Mandhavgadh Bandiyabeli in Surendranagar and a tourist spot at Victoria Park in Bhavnagar district are also coming up in the Junagadh forest circle.
In the Kutch forest circle, the Forest Department will increase facilities at the Chari Dhand wetland and also at the Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary, which is known for Chinkara. “Naliya is the only place in the country where the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) can be spotted, so the area will be developed as a walking trail, Meena added.