‘Eco Tourism’ the new buzz word in remaining wildlife habitat
DIMAPUR, MARCH 10
THE potential to promote eco-tourism in the state’s only national park at Intangki found centre-stage at a 3-day workshop jointly organized by the Forest department of Nagaland and the Regional Center, National Afforestation and Eco Development Board, Shillong, The workshop begun today at the State Environment and Forestry Training Institute in Dimapur.
The purpose behind the workshop, among others, is to arrive at a final draft policy on eco-tourism on wildlife and submit the same to the department of tourism, Nagaland. It might be noted that Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had, on November 11 last year while on a visit to the Amur Falcon roosting site at Doyang, expressed his government’s willingness to promote eco-tourism in the state.
Monday’s session was, however, only focused on introducing the concept of eco-tourism to the participants of the workshop, all from drawn from the forest department.The crux issue, potential of eco-tourism at Intangki and its related aspects, will be discussed thoroughly on Tuesday with at least five expert presentations expected to be delivered in the day.
Chief guest of the inaugural session of the workshop on Monday, the PCCF of Nagaland ML Rao underscored the need to have policy on eco-tourism before anything else. He cited the instance of Amur Falcon protection mission at Doyang in Wokha as a primary example.
It is crucial to have a policy that would ensure a natural habitat instead of a “concrete jungle”, he said. The PCCF informed that the Forest department has already proposed the state Tourism department with a policy to help conserve and preserve the ecology in and around Doyang.
Similar steps could be taken in the case of Intangki National Park, he reasoned. Towards this, Rao said, the workshop was crucial in order to help the Forest department draft a much-needed policy on eco-tourism.
There is already one policy that has been mooted in the official circle of the Forest department but which needs expert opinions and suggestions, the kind that could be provided by such workshop, Rao informed.
He also pointed out that the Intangki National Park, which currently sprawls at 202 sq kms, “is out of problems.” The PCCF was referring to incidents of encroachment inside the Park, which according to him, has come to an end.
“We (Nagaland) have a rich culture, heritage and bio-diversity. And it gives us much hope for eco-tourism. We only need to expose these aspects because the main thing is publicity,” Rao shared.
Prof Tiwari of the Regional Center, National Afforestation and Eco Development Board, Shillong said that the potential for eco-tourism at Intangki National Park was obvious even as “we understand that there is a special situation at the Park.”
The special situation to which he referred concerns the numerous incidents of land encroachment inside the Intangki National Park by villagers settled in the vicinity. Regardless, he suggested the participants to hammer out a concrete policy of eco-tourism at INP during the workshop. The Regional Center, National Afforestation and Eco Development Board, Shillong has been instrumental in introducing and promoting eco-tourism in the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Subsequently, both the states have gained widespread recognition for their efforts on eco-tourism.