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23 Jan 2017

Siliguri call for tourists - New Attraction

One of the tigers at the Bengal Safari Park. (Passang Yolmo)
TT, Siliguri, Jan. 22: Tour operators here hope the tiger safari launched by the chief minister at the Bengal Safari Park today will make tourists halt in Siliguri for an overnight stay rather than a brief stop en route to popular destinations in the Darjeeling hills, Dooars and Sikkim.
Mamata Banerjee formally inaugurated the tiger safari from a meeting in Kurseong. The chief minister had inaugurated the park, 11km from here, in January last year and records show that it has drawn over 2 lakh visitors till now.
The park already has rhino, deer, birds and gharials. Recently, two tigers, named Snehasish and Shila, were brought in from Odisha.
"Introduction of tiger safari at the park will definitely attract more tourists, who are visiting north Bengal and Sikkim, to Siliguri. Earlier, Siliguri was a transit point of tourists during their visit to the Dooars, Darjeeling hills and Sikkim. But the new facility at the safari park will definitely make them think of an overnight halt in Siliguri," Samrat Sanyal, the working president of the Eastern Himalayan Travel and Tour Operators Association, said.
The state tourism department is organising the second edition of Bengal Travel Mart in association with Sanyal's organisation from January 27 to showcase various tourist destinations in the region.
A forester said a visitor could enjoy the tiger safari at the park from tomorrow.
"The tigers are ready for visitors and the animals can be seen from tomorrow at park. There will be four vehicles covered by nets for visiting tigers and each trip will be for a duration of 15 minutes," Arun Mukherjee, the director of the park, said.
The foresters are likely to bring in elephants, Himalayan black bears and leopards also to the park very soon.
The park covers an area of 200 hectares beside NH31 and tigers are enclosed in a 20 hectare plot. The entire area is covered by a 5m high iron fence. Apart from the new safari, the chief minister also opened an administrative building, a veterinary hospital and a cafeteria at the park.

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