Dehradun: Blessed with Nanda Devi National park along with the Valley of Flowers which has been inscribed as World Heritage site, Uttarakhand has been ranked second in the country in context to national parks. However, all the aforesaid factors which made the state a paradise for tourists have failed to boost ecotourism.

The issue has finally attracted the attention of the Centre and for the first time. The Forest and Environment Ministry has made a provision for ecotourism in the 12th five year plan. The suggestions given by the working committee in a meeting at Delhi have brightened the possibilities in this context. The working committee was especially constituted to take account of the situation and prepare its report.

Till date the matters of ecotourism have lacked sponsorship and policies. Simultaneously, the apathy on the part of the Centre and the state government has made the situation even worse. The fact is clearly visible as ecotourism has not been given enough importance in any of the five year plan.

According to the working committee, the ecosystem has to be enhanced to reduce the man-animal conflict and also to facilitate people to avail the benefits of the training programmes.

Chief Conservator of Forests, Ecotourism, Rajiv Bhartari said, “The working committee has put forward many proposals and if all the suggestions are accepted then it would boost the ecotourism. Local populace will immensely benefit from this.” He added that it will also help in generating financial support to Ecotourism Corporation which would be soon be formed by the Forest Department.

(JPN/ Bureau)