Save Ratargul from incursions and exploitation
IN A country with spiralling population, it’s always difficult to preserve natural habitat, especially expanding through large areas and, Ratargul, the only swamp forest in the country, stands to become threatened without a proper safeguard system in place. According to a report published in New Age Xtra on Friday, the forest is a sanctuary for a wide variety of animals and maintains natural isolation to a large extent. However, rising human entry, both for tourism and for commercial purposes, puts the area in serious jeopardy. Reportedly, in recent times, more people have entered deep within the forest scaring off animals, thus disturbing a spontaneous setting of affairs. Of course, it’s only expected that in a country with very few green settings, tourists will be lured by places untouched by the usual features of tourism, but it’s also true that once more people are allowed in these spots, preserved sanctuaries will be hard to protect. In some other Asian countries, especially Malaysia, swamp forests are tourist attractions with restaurants and hotels established within jungles, though after a certain point, entry of the masses is restricted. In Ratargul, the government will be wise to devise such a law supported by a comprehensive forest protection strategy.
Reportedly, many young visitors are being sold narcotics within the area which is of course a matter of worry because if this is unchecked, Ratargul may become notorious for providing a safe haven for addicts and substance abusers. There is nothing wrong in promoting tourism surrounding the area though after a certain part, commercial activities need to be banned. To draw example from Sundarban, uncontrolled incursions by honey and wood collectors have resulted in wild animals often coming into human communities, resulting in fatalities on both sides. In such circumstances, authorities were forced to resort to extreme measures like killing wild beasts.
When preservation of ecology and wilderness is the priority, all profit-making acts need to be relegated. For the swamp forest, protection must take precedence and, therefore, fencing it, hiring properly equipped forest guards and appointment of honest forest officials are of the essence. Since it is public knowledge that forest department is plagued by corruption, an association with foreign agencies, with transparency dictating all steps, can be a logical measure. Also, the tourism department has to launch a drive to make the masses aware of regular tourism versus tourism which is regulated for the preservation of nature. The notion of green tourism where minimum interference is done to natural habitat is yet to become familiar in a country where sprawling accommodation, vehicles, noise and frenzied clearing of areas are the regular features.
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