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Land of Naxals is all set to become a tourist paradise Nov 21st, 2019 from Times of India

Land of Naxals is all set to become a tourist paradise

Almost a decade after coming out of the shadow of Naxal menace, Sonbhadra district is now all set to become a picnickers’ paradise, courtesy a proposal of Rs 50.27 crores prepared by UP tourism department to develop basic infrastructure with advanced facilities without disturbing ecology of the area with the help of forest department.

“Sonbhadra has a treasure of natural beauty as well as ancient rock paintings and other human creations at its hill and valleys. We had prepared a Rs 50.27 crores proposal to develop eight sites in initial phase. It was forwarded to the Central government for approval in March. As parliamentary elections were held in April-May, the approval could not be procured,” said joint director UP Tourism Avinash Mishra.

“Now, we are again pursuing the Central government to get its approval on the proposal forwarded through state government,” he added.

“Among the proposals, the major one is to develop Salkhan Fossils Park, spread in an area of around 25 hectares. The plant fossils are more than 1,400 million years old and date back to pre-Cambrian era. The park is three times larger than Yellow Stone Fossil Park of the US,” said Mishra adding that the fossils found in the area are algae and stromotolities.

Besides, other major components of the proposal are to develop the area near the caves housing the rock paintings on Lakhaniya rock shelters range from Mesolithic to Chalcolithic ages, said Mishra.

“Despite the fact that the site is popular among paleontolgists and researchers for determining the biological and geological history of the Earth, it is least developed from the tourism point of view,” he said adding, “this will be developed with introduction of basic facilities at Kaimoor wildlife forest range, which is hub of black buck.

The Shivdwar temple of district is eighth century statue of Lord Shiva made of black stone, said Mishra adding apart from it the riverfront of Kanhar river in Abaari area, which is being termed as mini-Goa by local visitors due to long sandbed with non-sticky sand like it is found on sea beaches, has also been included in this proposal.

He said all development works would be executed by the forest department as the entire area falls under its jurisdiction.

“Work would be related to construction of connecting roads, signboards near each fossil denoting its biological and geological information, furnished visitor zones, herbal gardens, butterfly conservatory, climbers groove, scented garden, nature interpretation centre, recreational garden with walkways, conservatories of endemic, rare and threatened plants of the area, and also representatives of ecosystems found in the area,” he informed.

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