Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday inaugurated the first phase of the state’s first Safari Park at Sauriya, eight km from Siliguri.
The Rs 25 crore first phase of the Safari Park is part of the total 287 hectares wildlife garden which currently houses only herbivorous animals situated off Sevak Road enroute Kalimpong and Sikkim.
The park has been divided into several zones where different varieties of deer, rhinoceros, wild bore, and wild cat will be kept. The West Bengal Zoo Authority is looking after the park. The tourists will be taken to a safari in eco-friendly vehicles. The charges of the vehicle will be Rs 50 per hour while the entry to the park will be Rs 20 per person.
Because of easy accessibility, the park is likely to be a tourist attraction. With the passage of time, more animals will be brought to the park. Inaugurating the Park, Banerjee said efforts were in full swing to complete the remaining part of the work.
It may be mentioned that a major tourist spot is coming up in Gajoldoba which has been renamed as Bhorer Alo by the Chief Minister.
Two budget hotels and a star hotel are coming up at the site. The tourists here can enjoy the sight of Kanchenjungha, a forest and the beauty of the Teesta river.
The Chief Minister on Thursday laid the foundation of a veterinary college, the first of its in North Bengal at Mayenaguri.
It may be mentioned that at Belgachia, the country’s first veterinary college was set up during the British period.
Banerjee left for Darjeeling where she will participate in a meeting to celebrate Netaji’s birthday. Banerjee has been accompanied by three MPs, Mukul Roy, Abhishek Banerjee and Bijay Chandra Burman and the state Sports Minister Aroop Biswas. Chief secretary Basudeb Bandopadhyay was also present.
Banerjee also announced health insurance coverage for all accredited journalists in the state from March 1, 2016.
She handed over ‘Kanchenjunga Award’ to renowned table tennis coach Bharati Ghosh and mountaineer Pusan Sherpa for climbing the Kanchenjunga peak without oxygen support several times.