Millennium Post

Forest department to open national parks and sanctuaries from Sept 23

Forest department to open national parks and sanctuaries from Sept 23

Kolkata: The state Forest department is all set to open up the national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and parks and gardens under its aegis from September 23. The zoos in the state may open up from October 2. However, the tourists and other stakeholders will have to follow certain guidelines related to safety against COVID -19.

"The detailed guideline in connection with tourism activities in the national parks and sanctuaries across the state will be released by state Forest minister Rajib Banerjee on Friday. It will be based on Covid advisory of the Health Department with the aim to ensure that the tourists, forest staff and other stakeholders have minimum chance of getting infected by the virus," said a senior official of the state Forest department.

Minister Rajib Banerjee on Wednesday held a high-level meeting at Aranya Bhavan in presence of senior officials of the department to chalk out a plan of opening up tourism activities maintaining safety protocols of Covid.

"The livelihood of many local people are dependent on tourism activities which has come to a complete halt since March 23 when lockdown was enforced. Of course, there is a risk factor involved in the move but it will be the responsibility of all of us including the tourists to adhere to the guidelines and combat the spread of the virus," added the official.

To begin with only jeep safaris will be allowed in Gorumara and Jaldapara National Park maintaining physical distancing parameters. Elephant safari will not be allowed at this juncture as it is difficult to maintain physical distancing.

"Considering the fact that people visiting the zoos are much higher than those visiting a sanctuary or a national park we have decided to have more preparedness in place before opening up the zoos," the official said.

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