Friday, July 17, 2009

Maoist menace hit forest management centre, tourism at Saranda

Updated on Friday, July 17, 2009, 18:58 IST

Jamshedpur: The growing Maoist menace in Jharkhand's Saranda forest has not only claimed lives of people, it has dealt a big blow to the forest department whose century-old heritage guest house and a unique training centre was burnt down in the past seven years.

The thickly wooded single-stretch forest, which covers over 850 sq km and is famous for its saal trees, housed the erstwhile saal forest management centre in the picutresque Thalokabad area which used to attract trainees from across the country.

The management centre was one of its kind in the country where trainees underwent training on saal forest management till the rise of extremism till over a decade ago, A K Gupta, the Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF) said here today.

The management centre and the century-old Thalokabad guest house were burnt down in 2002 and the saal forest training came to a stop.

''It will not be possible to rebuild the guest house and the forest management centre unless extremism comes to an end in Saranda,'' said Gupta.

The forest, rich in natural beauty, was favoured by tourists from inside and outside the country till the Maoists began to make their inroads from 2000, Gupta said.

The Maoists dealt a blow to tourism by burning down and blowing up total ten forest guest houses, including the one at Thalokabad, in the past seven years, he said.

Unwilling to risk their lives, the tourists, who used to spend days in the forest for a feel of the nature, stopped coming.

The other guest houses were at Salai, Kumdi, Luiya and Chotanagra and provided accomodation to the tourists at nominal rates.

The divisional forest officer (Saranda), Natesh said ''We have only three guest houses left in operation including one at Manoharpur, set up by Britishers and another at Baraiburu was built after Independence.

The Kiriburu guest house of the forest department was built a few years ago, he added.

Bureau Report

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