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Naxalite hot bed open to tourists

Binpur (West Midnapore), Feb. 23: The administration here today opened the Naxalite-infested Belpahari, Banspahari and Kankrajhore forests, which provide a corridor to elephants from the Dalma hills, to tourists seeking adventure without burning holes in pockets.

Block development officer of Binpur Narayan Biswas said 10 tents and five treetop houses have been set up in the tribal belt of the Gararasini hills and Ghagra waterfalls at a cost of Rs 20 lakh, provided by the Paschimanchal Unnayan Parishad.

The twin-bed tents have been named after some of the rivulets in the area — Tarafeni, Dulong, Kurchi, Piyal, Kharangbhuta and Kankrajharna. Electricity will be provided for a limited period at night with the help of generators.

Self-help organisations have formed kitchens that will offer tribal delicacies like salads made from earthworms and kofta made from “kurkuts” or hill ants, which nest deep inside tree trunks.

The area, which used to be a hot bed of Naxalite activities — especially led by the People’s War — will be well served by a spurt in tourist activities, feel officials. A boost to the tribal economy and their prospects of becoming self-reliant will loosen the Naxalites’ stranglehold, said district officials.

They added that a phone call would be enough to book a berth. After a journey on Ispat Express from Howrah to Jhargram and a bus ride to Belpahari, a reservation slip will have to be collected from the BDO. The tents would be half-an-hour away.

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