Ecotourism In Kanyakumari : The pristine forests of Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary will soon be accessible to nature lovers as the forest department has started eco-tourism activities in two spots under the Tamil Nadu Bio-diversity and Greening Project (TNBGP).
Under the project, Kalikesam, 30km from Nagercoil, and Zero Point at Pechiparai, 36km from Nagercoil, were identified for eco-tourism activities. The forest department launched eco-tourism activities at Kalikesam on Saturday. There are around 5,000 tribal people from Kani tribe living in 47 settlements in Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary.
They are being roped in for the eco-tourism project. They will act as eco-guides and cook food for the tourists. The tribal people selected for the project were adequately trained to row coracles, act as eco-guides and cook in canteens.
The Kanyakumari district forest department received Rs 80 lakh to develop eco-tourism activities in forest areas. The two sites will be developed with the fund of Rs 40 lakh each, forest officials said. District collector Sajjansingh R Chavan inaugurated the coracle ride at Kalikesam on Saturday.
It is a scenic place named after Goddess Kali with thick forests and rubber estates. Coracle ride was one among the many features of the eco-project which will have eco-huts for camping, awareness centre on shola forests, nature trails, river bathing and eco-canteen. Coracle ride for 25 minutes will cost Rs 500 while 50 minutes ride is charged at Rs 900.
Kanyakumari district forest officer Vismiju Viswanathan said the initiative is completely a community-based eco-tourism model linking the Kani tribal communities in the vicinity. The Tamil Nadu forest department through this model tries to conserve the natural environment as well as improve the livelihood of kani settlers. The earnings derived from these eco-tourism activities will be used for camp maintenance, conservation of eco-system and for tribal community development, he said. The Kalikesam site is launched and all other features like nature trials, eco-huts and canteen will become functional in a period of 30 days. Works are proceeding at Zero Point as well and it will be launched in two to three months. While Kalikesam has coracle ride, Pechiparai will have bamboo rafting as special attraction, forest officials said.