Home » India » Bengal allows tourism in its national parks, sanctuaries; no elephant safari for now – india news

Bengal allows tourism in its national parks, sanctuaries; no elephant safari for now – india news

The West Bengal government will be opening up its national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves from September 23 for tourists once again after a gap of more than six months. There will be, however, no elephant safaris for now.

The festive season has started with Mahalaya and Viswakarma Puja on Thursday and only a month is left for the Durga Puja, the biggest festival in West Bengal. This is the time when usually the flow of tourists increases and reaches its peak during the winter – October to January.

The decision to allow tourists was taken in a meeting held by the state forest minister Rajib Banerjee earlier this week. On Friday, the forest department released a set of dos and don’ts on how tourism would be allowed in the forests. Here are some of the points which you wouldn’t want to miss out.

* All entry tickets and bookings will be made online. You may not be allowed to enter if the thermal scanner detects that you have a higher body temperature. No refund would be given.

* You need to wear masks and maintain social distance. Hand sanitizer is mandatory in vehicles and boats. Staff and entry gates will ensure these things.

* One seat would be left vacant between two visitors. Limited number of vehicles would be allowed at a time so that not more than 20 people can enter watch towers at a time.

* All safari vehicles, watch towers, rooms would be sanitized. Only 30% guests would be allowed at a time in closed spaces such as dining rooms. Cultural programs can be held in open spaces only, else not at all.

* Zoos to open from October 2. Stress on proper sanitization every day. Things which visitors usually touch such as door knobs of wash rooms, handles, railings and barricades among others are to be sanitized every day.

West Bengal has six national parks, 12 wildlife sanctuaries, two tiger reserves, two elephant reserves and a biosphere reserve. The tigers in the Sunderbans, the only tigers to inhabit any mangrove, elephants, gaurs, crocodiles, deer, leopard and rhinoceros are among the few animals that attract more than 2.5 million tourists visit to these national parks and sanctuaries.

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