PUNE: Giving momentum to ecotourism in the State, Maharashtra Ecotourism Development Board (MEDB) will be exploring 214 new sites including 34 in Pune, which will be developed as ecotourism sites. However, officials of MEDB said that focus will be on creating a balance between protecting the biodiversity of the area and exploring the site for tourism.
Sunil Limaye, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, said that in total 320 sites have been selected for ecotourism development and work on 106 sites is in progress. “If sites are developed for ecotourism, the locals will be benefited. Similarly, we will see to it that tourists get benefits of toilets, clean water, stay facility, a local guide and other facilities so that they get to know nature in a better way and become more responsible for maintaining the ecosystem.
“A committee of locals will be formed at the gram panchayat level, which will maintain the site. The Forest Department and MEDB will handhold these locals in all the activities related to ecotourism,” added Limaye.
Kishor Mishrikotkar, retired divisional forest officer (DFO), said that care should be taken by tourists and locals that biodiversity of the site is preserved. “People should follow rules and regulations laid down by the government,” added Mishrikotkar.
Speaking on the carrying capacity of a site, Limaye said that this will be decided by the local committee. “Carrying capacity of each site will be listed and the locals will be made aware of the same. If there are more number of tourists on the site, then the locals should raise an alarm and limit the number of people. Like in Tadoba National Park, we send only 110 vehicles carrying six people each in two different shifts. These decisions are taken scientifically and analytically to preserve the biodiversity,” added Limaye, who added that annually funds of Rs 120 crore are allocated by the government for development of the sites.
SOME OF THE SITES ARE
- Tamhini Sanctuary, Pune
- Sudhagarh Sanctuary, Roha/Alibaug/Pune
- Siddhagad killa, Pune
- Raiyeshwar, Bhor
- Mouza Waghdongar, Purandar
- Mouza Rohideshwar, Bhor
- Mouza Hadsar Killa, Junnar
- Shivneri Killa Historical Place, Junnar
- Jivghan Killa Historical Place, Junnar
- Harishchandragad Historical place, Otur
- Baneshwar (Mahadeo Temple), Nasarapur, Bhor
- Mouza Bhambawade (Dattamandir), Bhor