CHANDRAPUR: More perks are in the offing for those who are planning for safari in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) this summer. After successfully opening two new tourist circuits in buffer area, the park management is now focused on launching community based ecotourism from Jhari and Jaiti Tukum villages of buffer.

These two villages will offer the facility of accommodation and food along with safari in core and buffer area of TATR from this tourist (summer) season. While entire tour to Tadoba (including safari, lodging and boarding) is quite costly if tourists opt for private tourist resorts, this community based ecotourism will offer all the facilities at very economical cost.

Tourists opting for this ecotourism package will get wild card entry into TATR and will face no disappointment for failure in securing entry tickets or advance booking for safari. Tadoba management will provide reservation in entry for certain number of vehicles operated by the villagers through ecotourism scheme.

“Each of the villages will offer four rooms, including two VIP suites, for accommodation at cost effective rates. Variety of delicacies, with advantage of regional and local cuisines, also at economical rates will available in the boarding facility. Canter-buses specifically meant for safari with reserved entry will be available for tourists opting for ecotourism package,” said deputy director (buffer), TATR, P Kalyankumar.

He claimed that tourists preferring only safari into TATR can also take a seat in bus service offered by the EDCs at cost effective rates. Community ecotourism of Jhari will operate from Jhari gate, while that of Jaiti Tukum will operate from Kolara gate of the tiger reserve.

Kalyankumar held that entire ecotourism operation will be handled by eco-development committees (EDC) of respective villages. “Entire earning through the scheme will go to respective EDCs and will be in turn utilized for development of the village. The move will also provide employment to the local people. This approach will boost the partnership between forest department and the EDC in protecting forest and wildlife,” he said.

He claimed that as Jhari village already has rooms that could be used for lodging facility; the ecotourism service from this village is likely to start in first week of March. Similar set-up in Jaiti Tukum will be ready and operational from April.

“The rooms available in Jhari are being renovated for tourist accommodation. Bus (Canter) for the safari will be purchased by pooling in eco-development funds of four neighbouring villages. Villagers will also be trained in cookery and hospitality through capacity building workshops,” he said.

Sports cycles for tourists

More adventures are on cards for the tourists in buffer area of TATR. Park management has plans to offer sports cycles on hire to the tourists staying at ecotourism facility at Jhari and Jaiti Tukum. They can amble around in the village and nearby places at their leisure time. Authorities also have plans to offer hiking adventure on game trail in buffer jungle, again through local EDCs in coming days. Similarly they are also contemplating to offer safari in the buffer forest on decorated bullock carts for tourists.

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