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Eco tourism projects on anvil to increase tourist footfall: Lal Singh

With a view to attract more tourists and pilgrims visiting the summer capital and to help boost the economic activities, the Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Choudhary Lal Singh today said that Government is exploring possibilities to promote eco-tourism in and around the Jammu city. This was said by the Minister while interacting with people after inspecting the site for construction of Jammu zoo (Shivalik Biological Park) near Khanpur Nagrota. Chief Wild Life Warden Suresh Chugh, Chief Conservator of Forests EcoTourism A K Gupta, Chief Conservator of Forests Roshan Jaggi, Joint Director Forest Protection Force Kh Qamar-udDin besides Divisional Forest Officers of Wild Life, Territorial and Forest Protection Force accompanied the Minister during his visit . Choudhary Lal Singh informed that Government of India has sanctioned Rs. 100 crore for establishment of Jammu Zoo at Nagrota in Khanpur. He said the zoo would be spread over about 5000 kanals of land and would be connected with Manda zoo via Bantalab area in Nagrota bye pass. The Minister said that the Jammu Zoo would attract the millions of pilgrims and tourists visiting the State. He said the project contains several facilities of tourist attraction, children entertainment, like eco-parks, wildlife enclosures, bird sanctuaries with large number of species from the world around, herbal parks, cafeterias, facilities of public utilities, parking spots and other attractions which are available in the national level zoos across the country. During his visit to the site, Choudhary Lal Singh evinced keen interest in the project and suggested earmarking adequate area for parking with an appropriate scope of futuristic expansion and entry gate. He directed the concerned to immediately start chain link fencing of the land and construction of entry gate as per site plan. Later, the Minister also visited Manda Wildlife Sanctuary and issued instructions to the officers for the proper upkeep of sanctuary and upgradation of morning walkers’ tracks. He also directed for creating some basic public amenities without disturbing the natural beauty of the area. Choudhary Lal Singh directed the Chief Conservator of Eco-tourism and Wild Life Department to ensure removal of bushes and weeds in the park. The Minister directed the District Forest Officer, Manda to personally monitor the feed and drinking water facilities being provided to the animals in the park.