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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

IFS Officer Remodeled a Barren Land into District’s 1st Eco-Tourism Hub

IFS officer Vikas Nayak got here throughout a barren land within the ravines of Firozabad district in Uttar Pradesh. As soon as a breeding floor for thieves and dacoits, he developed it right into a inexperienced oasis with wooden huts, geo treks, a butterfly park, and extra.

When Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Vikas Nayak noticed the land the place Rapdi Eco Tourism Centre stands right this moment, he noticed immense potential. Sitting barren proper subsequent to the River Yamuna, the place was a abandoned land with dying biodiversity. 

“There was one thing in regards to the land which made me need to preserve biodiversity. Once I noticed the place, I may envision a spot far more than a barren plot. I instantly began to attract a plan with my workforce,” he shares in a dialog with The Higher India. 

Conceptualised in 2023, 11 months later, Vikas was in a position to construct Rapdi Ecotourism Centre alongside along with his workforce. “On its opening day, we had about 1,100 individuals swarming the place, which is quite a bit for a spot like this,” muses Vikas. 

Whereas trying to save lots of the biodiversity of the place was a key issue, there was one more reason to rejuvenate the place — spreading consciousness about aware tourism. 

A ravine expertise

Positioned a brief drive away from Shikohabad within the district of Firozabad, the place is dwelling to lots of of bushes, wood huts, boats and much more and was “taken as much as create the primary ecotourism facility within the district.” 

“Once I was first posted within the space, I realised the way it didn’t have any ecotourism place. The locals weren’t very energetic in pure conservation both and I wished to do one thing about it,” he says. 

By the way, the officer began to go searching the realm and located the proper place right here itself. 

“It was an ideal place because it had ravine qualities and in addition slightly elevation. I obtained right down to drawing plans and making a funds. We formulated a challenge and offered it to the forest departments, securing funding for its implementation. Following the funding acquisition, which was in March 2023, we began the work,” he informs.

The place has a plethora of activities including a trek and boating.
The place has a plethora of actions together with a trek and boating.

The place was accomplished and opened to the general public with no payment in February 2024. “The place was additionally made protecting in thoughts that Agra — which attracts a variety of vacationers — is close by. This ensures that the place may get extra guests,” shares Vikas. 

The ecotourism centre has a plethora of actions moreover the biodiversity and plush greenery. 

“The place features a ‘geo trek’, wood cottages for guests to e book and keep, velocity boating, chook watching spots, cave explorations, a butterfly park and a cafeteria,” informs Vikas.

He provides, “Now we have integrated some elevated options, resembling a hillside terrain, and developed geo treks for exploration. Moreover, we’ve established butterfly spots the place guests can be taught in regards to the forest and river ecosystems.” 

Organising and working an ecotourism centre

Earlier than the realm grew to become an eco-tourism centre, Vikas informs that the place was a breeding floor for them and dacoits. 

“We began with planting bushes within the areas and bettering the place’s greenery. We additionally arrange habitats for birds and butterflies. Though the place had many bushes, we began to plant extra and construct the place across the bushes. The design was such that it didn’t disrupt the prevailing biodiversity of the place,” he says. 

Vikas wished to create and entice extra vacationers to the realm, and he additionally wished to lift consciousness about eco and accountable tourism. 

“It has been within the historical past of the forest division to contain locals within the work. From serving to with sustaining the forests to organising such initiatives to rescuing wildlife, it has been a practice for the division to hunt assist from the area people,” he says. 

Taking this custom, Vikas mapped out a plan that will assist the area people develop. 

Guests can stay at the mud homes at the eco tourism centre.
Company can keep on the mud properties on the eco-tourism centre.

“The ability, which is now absolutely operational, advantages the area people by offering alternatives for them to handle the canteen, parking services, and amassing the entry charges. Moreover, we’re conducting hospitality coaching to make sure high quality service for guests, together with steering on serving meals and interacting throughout nature treks,” he says.

A committee has been established to supervise the power’s administration, with a portion of the proceeds going to the federal government as royalty and the remaining being allotted to the group, he provides. 

Moreover, the place is a 100% plastic free zone. “We’re not permitting any plastic contained in the park. We’re additionally working with SHGs and sourcing native artwork items comparable to jute luggage and wood artwork items to promote to the guests,” he informs. 

In line with him, the clientele for this ecotourism enterprise is exclusive, consisting of people who perceive and recognize accountable tourism practices. “As a accountable vacationer, one should recognise their carbon footprint and minimise environmental impression. In ecotourism, services could also be restricted, however the emphasis is on sustainability and immersion in nature,” he says. 

Mohit, who travelled from Shikohabad in Uttar Pradesh to the eco-park, says, “I got here with my household to discover the ecotourism centre. The federal government has taken a really new idea and turned it into a spot of recreation. It’s actually good to see this space flourish right into a inexperienced oasis.” 

He provides that the butterfly park is his favorite half in regards to the park. “There’s additionally a small trek which is enjoyable so that you can do with your loved ones. A function that stands out is that your entire space is pollution-free and doesn’t have any litter. Guests are additionally getting consciousness and making an attempt to maintain the place clear,” he provides.

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IFS Vikas Nayak
IFS Vikas Nayak

Discussing his future plans, the IFS officer says, “We intend to increase the power and introduce new initiatives comparable to a plant library. This library will present details about varied plant species, permitting guests to deepen their botanical information. Our aim is to supply immersive experiences that foster appreciation for the pure surroundings and encourage conservation efforts.”

(Edited by Padmashree Pande; All Footage credit score: Vikas Nayak)

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