Thursday, 7 February 2013

CONCEPT PAPER ON RURAL TOURISM PROSPECTS IN THE DISTRICT OF DAKSHIN DINAJPUR


1.ANGINA- ECOLOGICAL CUM RURAL TOURISM PROJECT

ANGINA, a very special village on the border with Bangladesh,  in the district of Dakshin Dinajpur, Kumarganj Block under Samjia Gram Panchayet some 30 km away from the district headquarter – Balurghat, is a peaceful breeding place for the various migratory birds. It has been the rallying point for thousands of migratory birds since 1997. Angina is well connected by road with Balurghat which is also the nearest railway station.

WHY ANGINA- The Movement
This bird-village, is unique not only in the sense of being a complete birding destination but also as a place where birds, wild animals such as foxes, wild cats, big water lizards and human are habituated in sharing the common courtyard for peaceful co-existence without disturbing each other. It is one of those destinations where one can   sight avian fauna throughout the year.   The peak birding season usually starts from July and lasts upto November. It’s a home to an array  of winged visitors  both resident  and migratory.
Today the local villagers proudly describes the amazing journey which started over a decade ago. A committee had been formed among the villagers known as Angina Birds And Environment Protection Samity to safeguard the birds. The villagers started to give protection to their beloved feathered guests round the clock from the hands of the poachers. The villagers stopped using poisonous pesticides in their agricultural land. They started organic farming in the adjacent lands of the village. The children stopped using fire crackers during festivals.  Gradually the number of birds kept on increasing year after year. They found this village, a peaceful and safe haven for breeding.
However,it was a big challenge for the villagers to safe those poor little birds falling from their nests. The local children were encouraged to treat the ailing birds. With full enthusiasm the children came forward and shouldered the responsibility. The children like Tatai Shil, Suvendu Basak, Sebak Shil, Santu Mondal started collecting old sarees from the villagers, made bandages out of them and with every attention and love tied the bandages to the injured parts of the birds. They started collecting snails, shell-fish, crabs, frogs and insects from the adjacent rice fields and marsh lands and fed those ailing birds. The experts on birds told that it was an impossible task for them to save those birds as the open bill storks mainly feed the little ones by regurgitating the food. But it seemed that nothing could discourage or stop the children. The children living below  poverty line found it difficult to make both ends meet but gave full attention to the nursing of the birds. Finally the children with their zeal and determination saved the birds proving the experts wrong. One day without any warning those birds flew away from Angina . Next season the birds started landing again in Angina. The children could easily recognize the birds by spotting the bandages on their legs.

Today  Angina is one of the greatest spots for the breeding of the migratory birds. Different varieties of birds can be seen here including  Asian Open Bill Storks,   egrets,   herons,   barbets,   water hen,   cormorants,   kingfishers,   little green bee eaters,    verdiator fly catcher,    shrike,    coucal,    rufous treepie, owls,    parakeet,   sunbird,   Indian roller,   weaver bird,    tailor bird,      cinereous tit,    black hooded oriole,    chest nut tailed starling, adjutants etc. 

Besides all these, village life can truly be experienced here and above all it is a destination known for its rustic charm to the nature and bird lovers.
  

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER

The NGO, named Angina Birds and Environment Protection Samity (S/1L/14148 of 2002-2003) has been promoting tourism with conservation in the whole of the district. It has been playing  massive role in protecting, salvaging, maintaining and nourishing the migratory birds.
  1. It is a ten year old NGO working heartily to promote village tourism in Angina.
  2.  It is not debarred by any department under the Central Government or the State Government.
  3. The NGO had won the Environment Excellence award in 2005. 
  4. The NGO had encouraged the villagers to start home stay facilities for the tourists. Many tourists like professors of Shibpur Engineering college, bird experts, bird lovers from silchar , jodhpur came here and enjoyed the warm hospitality of the villagers.
  5. It is maintaining a register where thousands of tourists from different parts of the world have registered their valuable comments.
  6. The NGO has already encouraged the villagers to give their lands to start eco based tourism and some of them are so much interested that they want to donate their land for the sake of tourism.
  7. The NGO organizes routine based awareness programmes among the people of Angina and the people of adjacent villages about the importance of environment and birds.
  8.  The NGO has trained and recruited some of the villagers to help the tourists as guides.
  9. The NGO does snail farming to feed the birds.
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

The following things are required to develop the basic infrastructure of the village for promoting tourism :
  1. A parking place required for parking of cars of the tourists.

  1. Roads inside the village must be transformed from kuchha to pucca.

  1. A eco- friendly tourist lodge inside the village for accommodating the tourists  apart from the home stay facilities to be developed.

  1. Clean drinking water facility and proper sanitation required for day visitors.

  1. A watch tower to watch the birds.

  1. Colourful paddle boats in the pond with gardening and decoration to be introduced for the tourists

  1. Eco friendly benches throughout the village and beside the ponds for proper sitting arrangements for the tourists.

  1. A Bird rescue and rehabilitation centre along with a Nature Interpretation Centre.

  1. A small handloom industry where the villagers can prepare different products for selling to the tourists.
  2.                                            

2.KUSHMANDI CULTURAL AND RURAL TOURISM PROJECT

Kushmandi Block situated on the northern part of Dakshin Dinajpur is not only rich for its archaeological assets but also for its folk culture. Kushmundi is an important and famous place for its bamboo and wooden craft industry, Dhokra and Dangri art.

Mahisbathan (khunia Danga) and Usha Haran are  places in Kushmundi where wooden masks are made in huge variety especially from local woods. These masks of Mahisbathan are an important part of the social and cultural activities of the district. These masks are distinct as they represent Gods, Goddesses and characters from the mythology and history. These masks have become a popular theatre craft admired for its simplicity. Over the years these wooden masks have evolved into an admirable craftsmanship with its exquisite design and finish. Woodden masks of Mahisbathan are the creations of the artisans who with their exclusive use of cuttings and colours give the masks a touch of their originality. A co-operative society, namely Mahisbathan Hosto Shilpo Samabay Samity is running this mask industry in Mahisbathan. Not only this but also the Dhokra art is also a famous and exclusive art of Kushmundi where the artists prepare many shapes, dolls, idols from the jute. And the Dangri art is yet another art of Kushmundi where the artists make different and designer blankets out of old sarees and dresses.

The enriched folk songs of the rural areas of Kushmundi are famous for their unique styles and compositions. The folk songs reflect the inherent natural talent of the rural artists who compose the splendid music to refresh their mind and explore their hidden potentialities.

Important folk cultures of the region are

A)     KHAN, mainly performed by the rural communities and the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes is a kind of folk opera songs interwined with the dialogues.

B)     GAMBHIRA dance and Gambhira songs are quite popular in Kushmundi. Lord Shiva also known as Gambhir and Gambhir is originally celebrated as a puja worship. The dance is a combination of narrative song and music which resembles a folk play. The theme of the dance is based on social, political, economic and moral problems of the contemporary society.

C)      Mask dance locally known as MOKHA NACH is the common festival among the people of the rural areas which represent various ethnic groups. 

D)     NATUA is a kind of opera mainly based on the divine of Radha and Krishna.

E)        HALNA HALNANI  is a folk-opera type performance. Main characteristics are two fictious persons – Male Halna and Female Halnanai.

F)      CHOR CHUNNI is a popular folk art of the region depicting the rise and fall of various mythological characters.

G)     JALMANGA GAAN  is basically a prayer song sung by the females for the hope of rain in the drought season
      
Besides these Manasamangal Pala , Ba-Khela   etc are also the important traditional folk cultures of Kushmundi.

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Dishari Sankalpo (S/1L/44565 of 2007-2008)
It is a five –years-old NGO. It is not debarred by any department under the central or the state Government. The secretary, Mr. Tuhin Subhra Mondal have won the Anandaloke Selam Bengal Award in 2010 for environment conservation and environment education. They have been working for the creation of ecotourism spots and promotion of ecotourism. Though it is mainly an environmental organization but it is working also on various social problems and also to popularize science based activities in day to day life. It has organized environmental Awareness Rally.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
To promote rural tourism in Kushmundi , the thrust is for development of tourism infrastructure  at the identified site so that socio economic benefits percolate down to the rural community.  The following things are required to develop the basics to promote rural tourism  in Kushmundi.

  1.  Development of pucca roads in the villages.
  2. Accomodation of the tourists through  home stay facilities in the villages to be opened.
  3. A Parking place for the vehicles with toilet facilities and eating joints to be created.
  4.  Folk culture cultivation centre cum museum cum selling outlet to be opened.
  5. Proper drinking water facility to be set up for the day visitors.
  6. Proper sanitation facility to be set up within the village.
  7. A restaurant with local traditional recipe to be opened for the tourists.
  8.  A permanent stage to be made for the folk dancers to display their skills in front of the tourists.
  9. Beautification and modification of Ayra forest.
  10. A tree house with cottages can be made for accommodating the tourists. 
   11.  The remains of the Indigo factory can be modified to highlight its importance before the tourists.
                                  
                                  



BRIEF WRITEUP ON A PREMIER ECOTOURISM SPOT

 BHALUKA ECO TOURISM SPOT

BHALUKA BEEL, a completely unexplored, unidentified, virgin place, situated within Hilli block in Jamalpur GP, has the potential to turn into a dream destination for all kinds of tourists including nature lovers and bird lovers from all over the country and abroad. The pristine virgin beauty of the place with substantial tribal population residing along its periphery presents an ideal destination for eco cultural tourism in line with similar European destinations. Different varieties of migratory birds visit the place round the year. In vacant land, species of trees providing for the natural habitat of the birds are being planted under MGNREG scheme under implementation by the block. Tourists will be accommodated in eco-friendly cottages with bird watching arrangements and will be entertained by rides provided by manually operated country boats. Tourists will be provided glimpses of the Santhal and Oraon tribal culture by arranging for tribal dance shows and home stay arrangements . At a more mature stage of the project, provisions for birds' rescue centre, watch tower, birds' museum, nature interpretation centre, house boat, tree house, canopy walk amidst the habitat may be provided as well.,  over the country and abroad. If given little attention it can be the best and the biggest bird sanctuary in India.

FAQs :
1.       Where is  Bhaluka?

Ans: It is situated in Hili block near Jamalpur gram panchayet. A pucca village main road connects the place with Balurghat – Hili state high way at Teor.

2.       What is there in Bhaluka?

Ans: A large water body of 50 acres with marsh land, vested land of nearly 20 acres with thousands of migratory birds flocking.

3.       Why Bhaluka?
Ans: Firstly there is approximately 70 to 80 acres of land with huge waterbody which can be taken into account at a time to materialize the
project. Secondly the Asian open bill storks generally fly back during
winter. But surprisingly hundreds of open bill storks along with the winter migratory birds can be seen here in winter. That means a tourist can find birds of different species throughout the year. Not only that the largest variety and the largest number of migratory birds in the whole district can also be found here.

4.       How can Bhaluka be developed?

Ans: Bhaluka can be well developed through eco tourism. By maintaining the ecological balance of the environment and developing the economical condition of the villagers by making them participate in different activities of the eco resort.

5.       How can Bhaluka welcome the tourists.?

Ans: If once the dream project Bhaluka starts functioning, it will be a dream destination for the tourists. A warm hospitality will be awaiting for the tourists.
a)       The tourists coming to Bhaluka will be taken to the spot 1 km away from the road by colourful bullock cart. These carts will be driven by the local villagers. So this will be a source of income for them.
b)      Once they arrive they will be escorted to their eco friendly cottages made of bamboo and wood.
c)       They will be provided with local food prepared in the canteen. The chef and the canteen boys can be appointed among the villagers. So this will also be a source of income for them.
d)      After lunch the tourists can enjoy boat ride in the lake. The country boats will be ridden by the local villagers.
e)      In the evening the tourists can enjoy cultural tribal dance. The local tribes can be trained and engaged in it.
f)        In the morning after breakfast the tourists can go for a walk through the sanctuary and visit the watch tower. From there they can watch birds and can have a glimpse of the picturesque view of the sanctuary.
g)       After that they will come to visit the mini zoo.
h)      A museum on birds can be set up to enrich the tourists about birds.
i)    Before coming back the tourists will be provided with gifts made by the local villagers.

The fees for all the activities along with accommodation will be a lumpsum amount which is to be paid by the tourists at the time of booking.  

The following things are required to materialize the project.

1. ECO friendly cottages with attached bathrooms with all modern amenities.
2. Bullock cart
3. dining hall with canteen
4. Water tank
5. A road of 1 km for all seasons.
6. One dormitory for the drivers.
7. one parking place for the outside cars.
8. watch tower
9. a mini zoo
10.  a nature interpretation centre with a bird museum
11. a bird rehabilitation centre.    
12. country boats
13. binocular, torch, video camera, projector, raincoat. Etc.
14. afforestation
15. snail farming centre .
16. a small handloom industry 


3 comments:

  1. A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a good one. Looks like you are a specialist on this because you just made it so easy to be with you, motivated me to learn more on the subject!
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  2. Very nice post! It has motivated me to visit this location some time in the near future. Thanks for all the information.

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