Forest Department-run inspection bungalows and other accommodation facilities will be opened up for the general public who come as visitors
Kerala’s forest cover has always been the pride of the state. Though diminishing, the woods and the rivers that make Kerala a green paradise continue to charm visitors arriving in large numbers from other states and overseas.
The Department of Forests, responsible for ensuring that no untoward incident is orchestrated by money-minded criminals who target the forest wealth and the tribal population, has more or less managed to keep Kerala green over the years.
The department that runs inspection bungalows and guest houses that have access only to officials and administrative personnel hitherto, is now looking at opening up a new door towards promoting visitors who arrive to enjoy the green wild.
Visitors will be able to use inspection bungalows
In a bid to make this possible, the department is mulling over opening up the existing government-run inspection bungalows and other accommodation facilities to the touring public.
Hinting at such a possibility, AK Saseendran, Kerala’s Minister for Forests and Wildlife, has said that the Forest Department will look towards making the staying facilities including the inspection bungalows accessible to the general public. According to him, the government would consider expansion of eco-tourism centres to enable tourists to enjoy the beauty of the forests in the state.
Besides, the eco-tourism activities would focus on nature conservation, he said. The department has also taken a step forward by deploying of point-of-sale machines at eco-tourism destinations close to the forests in the state.
POS machines installed at 35 eco-tourism centres
Steps have been taken to install POS machines at 35 eco-tourism centres in the state, in association with the South Indian Bank. There are currently 73 POS machines operating in eco-tourism centres and eco-shops. Tourists will be able to make payments digitally with credit/debit cards and UPI at ticket counters and sales outlets from now on.
The government is aiming at encouraging green-friendly eco-tourism, by planning and implementing activities that do not become a burden on the environment.