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Uttarakhand » Governance

Posted at: Jun 18, 2016, 12:48 AM; last updated: Jun 18, 2016, 12:48 AM (IST)

Eco-tourism corp with 51% govt stake to come up soon

Jotirmay Thapliyal

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, June 17

The state government is setting up Uttarakhand Eco-Tourism Corporation Limited to promote eco-tourism.

The initiative comes at a time when the state government in undertaking every possible measure to promote eco-tourism. The corporation will come with an initial fund of Rs 5 crore and will have 51 per cent stake of the state government while the rest of the private firm.

The board of directors of the company will have a minimum of three and maximum of seven directors. While the chairman will be an additional chief secretary rank officer or principal secretary (environment), the responsibility of the managing director of the company will be with an Indian Forest Service officer.

Forest Minister Dinesh Agarwal told The Tribune that eco-tourism holds important for both the Forest Department and the state government and setting up of Uttarakhand Eco Tourism Corporation Limited was a step in the same direction.

He said eco-tourism could be a means to generate livelihood opportunities for the people residing in village areas of the state.

“We are trying to boost eco-tourism, link it with village tourism and develop small circuits near popular destinations to attract tourists to newer places in the state,” Agarwal said.

Uttarakhand Chief Conservator of Forests Kapil Joshi, who heads the Eco-tourism Department, said the state had immense potential in eco-tourism as it was a viable means to strength rural economy in Uttarakhand.

Significantly, the Forest Department had a special section to deal with eco-tourism that is linked to forestry. The eco-tourism wing of the department is making all efforts to promote its activity, ensuring involvement of maximum number of people. It has identified 32 eco-tourist circuits, which will be one of its kinds. These include 16 sites each in Garhwal and Kumaon.

Rajeev Sharma from the tours and travel industry expressed happiness over the move to set up ecotourism corporation and said eco-tourism, in particular, had a larger scope in Uttarakhand taking into account its rich forest and floral biodiversity. “Tourists want to come to Uttarakhand to spent some time away from the mad rush of life in metros in its sylvan surroundings and, thus need for eco-tourism. Uttarakhand can encash on it if it promotes it in a proper way,” he said.


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