With sustainability as the new travel norm, the Punjab Forest Department is all set to develop three eco-tourism projects in Pathankot and Hoshiarpur. The project aims to introduce unexplored destinations to tourists.
As per the officials, the government has already designed a plan for an eco-tourism spot on Kulara island, close to the Ranjit Sagar reservoir in Pathankot. Moreover, they are also working on two more projects at Talwara and Maili Dam in Hoshiarpur.
Forest Conservator (North Circle) Sanjeev Tiwari said, "We plan to set up an eco-tourism project spread over 18 acres of land on the Kulara island in Pathankot's Dhar. We will be developing 20 cottages on the island. There will be several activities, including water sports." In addition to this, an interpretation centre has been established in Pathankot to enhance awareness about environmental conservation.
Tiwari also mentioned that the eco-park in Talwara offers a hilltop view of the whole city, known as "Hawa Mehal." It's set to cover an acre of forest land. The goal is to showcase Punjab's natural beauty and raise awareness about wildlife. "Local communities will play a vital role in these projects," he added.
As part of the projects, the department intends to establish all-weather huts for camping and create opportunities for water sports, nature trails, bird-watching, jeep safaris, and nature interpretation centres.
Emphasising the success of these eco-tourism projects, Tiwari referred to the nature awareness retreat camps in Chamrod village (Dhar, Pathankot) and Chohal and Thana Dam (Hoshiarpur), both of which received an overwhelming response.
“In the Chamrod project, which is also called ‘Mini Goa’, the department also plans to add paragliding, parasailing and jet skis,” he added. These initiatives aim to allow tourists to observe wildlife, such as leopards and deer, and various migratory birds, including peacocks.
Similar projects are already operational in various locations, including the foothills of the Shivalik mountain range at Chohal and Thana dam in Hoshiarpur, Dhar in Pathankot, and Siswan in Mohali.
(With inputs from PTI)