Covid spike: Review meet on anvil to take call on eco-resort bookings

KOLKATA: State forest minister Jyotipriya Mallick will hold a review meeting with concerned officials of his department on Thursday to decide whether it will allow further booking at its properties across the state with COVID-19 cases in the state showing an upward surge.

"The safety of the tourists as well as the animals should be our top priority in the COVID-19 situation. However, it will not be fair to cancel the existing bookings overnight. So, a thorough review of the situation will be done before taking any decision. If we find

that COVID-19 cases are rising in areas where our resorts

are located, then we have to close further bookings until

situation improves," Mallick said.

Presently, COVID-19 protocol are strictly followed and regular sanitisation is being done at all the 26 eco tourism resorts of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) to curb the spread of COVID-19.

WBFDC's ecotourism resorts particularly its nature resorts at Jaldhaka, Murti, Paren, Rasikbil, Suntalekhola, Loleygaon, Lava, Kalimpong, Mongpong, Samsing, Barodabri, Rajabhatkhawa , Lepchajagat to name a few normally have high tourist flow during winter. The resorts in south Bengal too particularly those located at Garpanchakot, Mukutmanipur, Jhargram, Lodhashuli, Tajpur and Garchumuk have had an impressive tourist flow during December.

The department allowed bookings upto 75 per cent of the rooms of its properties and kept 25 per cent in its own hands for VIP or other emergency purposes.

However, after the dual blow to tourism by the first and second COVID-19 wave the department allowed tourist bookings with 100 per cent capacity. This was instrumental for WBFDC to recover from the losses that suffered due to the COVID waves.

"We are waiting for instructions from the department. Steps will be taken accordingly," TVN Rao, Managing Director , WBFDC said.

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