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Maharashtra government promotes ‘nature tourism’

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday announced the setting up of Maharashtra Nature Tourism Development Corporation to attract tourists to various forests and natural reserves in the state.

The MNTDC will specifically promote tourism to 48 wildlife sanctuaries, six national parks and four reserved green areas across the state which abound in nature and wildlife.

The new body – to be structured on the lines of the existing Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, will be headquartered in the state’s second capital, Nagpur, Fadnavis added.

Presently, he said that an estimated one million tourists descend on various sanctuaries and national parks every year and this is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

Accordingly, the MNTDC will ensure better facilities and amenities for the tourists, besides taking up conservation programs, ensuring the protection of local peoples and their social cultures without damaging the vast natural heritage the state is endowed with.

This in turn would boost employment prospects for the local population and help develop these regions to global standards, Fadnavis said.

Some of the major wildlife sanctuaries in the state include Chaprala Wildlife Sanctuary, Tadoba National Park, Chikhaldhara, Dajipur, Bharmragarh Wild Life Sanctuary, Navegaon National Park, Tipeshwer, Bor Wildlife Sanctuary while the Pench Jungle camp is a special accommodation facility available at the Pench National Park, on the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh borders.

These sanctuaries abound with a vast variety of wild animals, reptiles, and birds, including tigers, leopards, nilgais, wild boars, chitals, bears, wolves, foxes, jackals jungle cats and dogs, flying squirrels, sloth bears, barking deers, hyenas, besides many species which are protected or on endangered lists.

Presently, many of these forest destinations offer facilities like jeep rides, night safaris, libraries with audio-visual facilities, comfortable accommodation, and efficient transportation at nominal rates.

(Inputs from IANS)

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