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19 Jul 2018

Drones to keep tabs on Gazoldoba visitors

Cottages which have come up at Gazoldoba. Picture by Passang Yolmo
BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT, Jul 19, 2018 Siliguri: Tourists visiting "Bhorer Alo", the mega tourism hub coming up at Gazoldoba next to the Teesta Barrage - around 25 km from here - will be under aerial surveillance.

The Baikunthapur forest division of the state forest department - the hub is under the jurisdiction of this division - will engage a drone to keep a tab on the entire project area and adjoining localities.

This is probably the first time in Bengal that regular aerial monitoring would be conducted at a tourist destination.

"We will shortly procure three drones. One of these will be used only for the surveillance of the tourism project at Gazoldoba. The rest would be used to keep a tab on movement of wild animals and people in forest areas and also to check whether any illegal practice is going on in forests," said Anjan Guha, the divisional forest officer of Baikunthapur.

Sources said the department has spoken with officials Siliguri Metropolitan Police so that it can use the aerial surveillance device.

"They have got the consent from police so that the drones can be used. At the tourism hub, it would also contribute in ensuring safety of visitors and can also help the department to check whether any visitor is violating the norms while staying at the site," the source said.

At Gazoldoba, the state has planned to develop an array of facilities for tourists over an area of 208 acres.

The state tourism department is working with PWD, forest and NB development department in an integrated manner and has plans to introduce facilities like cottages for accommodation, jungle trail in bicycles, boating on the Teesta and elephant safari for tourists before the upcoming Durga Puja season.

A youth hostel and some private resorts are also coming up at the site.

"This means, the hub would be ready for visitors ahead of the upcoming tourist season. It is good that the forest department has decided to start aerial surveillance of the site," said an official from the tourism department.

The DFO also said that they are building a 12-kilometre-long road that will connect the Bengal Safari Park and Bhorer Alo through the forest. It will also be used for jungle safari and elephant safari.

"About 50 per cent of construction has been done. We want to finish the work ahead of the next tourist season," he said.

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