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Nature in neglect

A tower at the rest house of Canary Hills (above) in Hazaribagh. (Vishvendu Jaipuriar)

Surrounded by lush greenery and dotted with picturesque lakes, Canary Hills in Hazaribagh is inarguably one of the most beautiful spots that Jharkhand can boast of. Sitting pretty around 2,000ft above sea-level, the hilltop provides a bird’s-eye view of the entire town and was once a favourite with tourists from neighbouring states like Bihar, Odisha and Bengal. But the nature’s paradise lost its charm over the years and the footfall started dwindling. As another year dawns, VISHVENDU JAIPURIAR tries to find out what ails the hills and the revival plans in store

In the past: Located around 1.5km from Hazaribagh town, Canary Hills had served as the locale of many Hindi and Bengali movies starring famous actors of yesteryears. The British had constructed a watchtower atop the hills, providing an astonishing view of the “Land of thousand gardens”

Initial measures: A sum of Rs 15 lakh was sanctioned under the Sunischit Rozgar Yojna in 1999 to beautify lakes on the foothills. The funds were spent on rejuvenation of water bodies, building culverts, stairways, proper seating arrangements and drinking water facilities. A cafeteria was also set up

Fear factor: The beautification drive notwithstanding, the tourist flow started drying up due to the poor law and order situation in the area, Naxalism threat and lack of efforts to add more attractions to the place. Incidents of eve-teasing were the final nails in the getaway’s coffin

Unfulfilled promises: A proposal to develop a tiger and deer safari was mooted in 2000, but nothing happened. Ten years later, forest

officials planned a hyena breeding and conservation centre, along with the safari, in view of the huge animal population in the hills. But, Central Zoo Authority turned down the plan

A ray of hope: In a fresh bid, the state wildlife advisory board proposed a biodiversity park in September 2012. According to the plan, a park will be set up on 318 hectares, including flower, medicinal, aquatic gardens. Besides, there will be grass zones and water and soil conservation facilities. Besides, work is on to divert the Ranchi-Patna Highway (NH-33) via the Canary Hills. It is expected to improve connectivity, providing a much-needed boost to tourism

AuthoritySpeak

A detailed plan for the proposed biodiversity park has been sent to the state headquarters. The park, which is to be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 14 crore, will come up on the foothills

Ajit Singh,
divisional forest officer (east)

MLAspeak

Officials will now send the proposal to the regional office of the ministry of forests and environment in Bhubaneswar. Once it approves the project, work will begin. I am following it up seriously

Saurabh Narayan Singh,
Congress MLA


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