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North Bengal turns birding hotspot

North Bengal turns birding hotspot
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Darjeeling: North Bengal is steadily emerging as a birding destination. The travel trade industry along with the government of West Bengal is providing the necessary support to promote this region as a birding hotspot.

"North Bengal is a birding hotspot. In coordination with various organizations, we have been constantly promoting this as special interest tourism. Training is being imparted to local youths so that they can work as birding guides. Besides, a number of activities are being taken up in this regard," stated Goutam Deb, Tourism minister.

Meanwhile, a five day-long North Bengal Birding Festival concluded successfully on Monday. The festival was organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal in collaboration with Association for Conservation and Tourism (ACT).

The event was supported by seven NGOs from Bengal and Assam working for conservation, research and survey on birds and bird habitat.

The festival included a bird photography competition restricted to birds of North Bengal. Out of 137 entries, 96 best entries were put up at an exhibition at Ramkinkar Hall in Siliguri.

"There were workshops for freelance bird guides. The festival also hosted a workshop for tourism industry members along with Birders and Bird photographers' meet," stated Raj Basu, Convenor, ACT.

Around 52 Boatmen of Gajoldoba, an integrated tourism spot in the Jalpaiguri district, were imparted training to work as birding guides.

The Darjeeling Wildlife Division of the Forest Department will organise the first Mahananda Bird Festival from February 20 to 23.

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