SUBJECT :Karangad eco tourism project promises to be the perfect weekend getaway 

Madurai, March 7, 2018: It would be a perfect weekend getaway at 125 kms away from city, for entertainment starved Madurai, if the plans of wildlife officials from Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park materialize as they envisage.

Once complete, the Karangad community based eco-tourism project near Thondi in Ramanathapuram district, will have boat rides with glass-bottom boats, eco-restaurant, a board-walk inside mangrove swamp island, drinking water and toilet facilities. Even at present, interested tourists can take out boat rides to an island full of mangroves and get home-made food prepared by the Eco-Development Committee (EDC).

Wildlife officials said that it is a community based eco-tourism project empowering fisher folk in Karangad village. The EDC has 100 members from the village. Using the available funds, the department has constructed a watchtower to view birds and an eco-hut near the shore. Two boats are available with drivers as well. The committee has also been provided utensils to cook food if visitors request food at the spot.

On Tuesday, wildlife officials along with villagers reviewed the progress of the eco-tourism project. Wildlife warden T K Ashok Kumar said that it will be a good spot for tourists to have a glimpse of mangroves. The villagers are roped into the conservation of the mangrove eco-system. The project turned out easier because it is inside forest lands and villagers also render lot of help to department, he said.

Apart from promotion of the spot, the project will sensitise visitors on mangroves conservation, dugong and sea-grass habitat conservation. Dugong is the flagship animal of Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park and sea-grass is its usual habitat.

In addition to the existing facilities, they have submitted a proposal of Rs 50 lakhs to the government, using which a board walk inside mangrove island – 15 minutes ride away from shore – jetties at both ends, glass boats, eco-restaurant and basic amenities for visiting tourists, are being planned. “With help of the villagers, we could turn trash filled shore into a beautiful spot with. We have more amenities planned in the coming months and Ramanthapuram district administration has also assured their support in this regard,” said forest range officer S Sathish.

Apart from the mangroves, there is a beautiful catholic church – Sengol Matha (Mother of Scepter) – which is nearly 400 years old. “It is a beautiful place to visit and we are already receiving visitors. A short stretch of road to Karangad is in battered condition and we have taken it up with the district administration,” added Analin Raj, president of EDC.

Source: Times of India