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After three months, Sunderbans tourism to resume on Monday

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After a gap of three months, the tourism zones of the Sunderbans would be re-opened from June 15, a state forest department notification issued on Wednesday stated.

The decision has brought cheers to tourists, tour operators and locals as tourism is considered an important alternative livelihood in the land of mangroves that was ravaged by Amphan on May 20. The notification comes close on the heels of a directive issued by National Tiger Conservation Authority on June 5 on re-opening of tiger reserves across the country. Sunderbans was closed to tourists from March 18.

The forest department has issued a slew of measures to be followed by tour operators and tourists. Sunderbans Tiger Reserve field director Sudhir Das said capacity of each boat/launch had been almost halved, considering the Centre and state guidelines to ensure social distancing. “Thermal scanning has been made mandatory for tourists and crew members before starting trips. All tourists and crew members will have to wear masks and face shields throughout the tour,” said Das.

Soumyajit Nandy of GoingWild that organises wildlife photography tours in the Sunderbans hailed the move. “Sunderbans has suffered a double blow — first the Covid-19-induced lockdown and then, the cyclone. So, this move will surely boost the local economy,” he said. Another tour operator, Indrajit Sengupta of Dakshin Rai Nature Camp, echoed him: “Since livelihood of many locals, who work as boatmen, cooks and caretakers with us, is involved, this is a positive step by the forest department. But keeping an eye on the Covid pandemic, we should follow all guidelines to ensure social distancing.”

 

Source: Times of India

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