The Telegraph
Saturday , January 5 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dirty (linen) secret of wildlife haven Dalma
- Makulakocha guest house doesn’t offer winter basics like blankets to visitors staying the night

Planning a visit to picturesque Dalma? Camcorders may be on your mind, but don’t forget the humble mosquito-repellent coil too.

Blankets, bed sheets, towels and mosquito nets are your other packing must-haves according to the unwritten rule book prescribed by cash-strapped authorities looking after four-roomed Makulakocha forest guest house.

When The Telegraph surveyed the two-bedded rooms on Friday morning, it found only one had bed sheets. Mattresses were soiled and in poor shape. There was no mosquito net in any room. The TV set was defunct. Three blankets were stacked in the godown.

Even worse was the absence of towels in the attached bathrooms.

For the record, a person willing to book a room pays Rs 300 per day. Visitors pack food along.

Purulia businessman and a frequent visitor to Jamshedpur, Anirban Karmakar described the “sordid mess” inside Makulakocha guest house during his December 31 visit to Dalma sanctuary.

“I won’t recommend a night halt at Dalma sanctuary and that too at Makulakocha guest house. My wife and I had a horrendous time. We used jackets and sweaters to sleep on. We asked the attendant for a blanket but he expressed his inability saying all three blankets were used in the other room. We used our handkerchiefs to wash our face as there were no towels,” fumed Karmakar, an auto parts dealer.

Dalma range officer Mangal Kacchap expressed ignorance about the problem initially. But he then added one should not expect much for Rs 300.

“We take Rs 50 out from Rs 300 for maintenance. But that’s paltry. But I’ll personally look into the matter and ensure that basic requirements like bed sheets, blankets and towels are supplied at Makulakocha guest house,” Kacchap said.

The other forest guest house in Pinderbera has enough blankets and other facilities. Visitors are charged Rs 350 for each night stay.

According to forest department booking register data, between January and December 2012 as many as 12,695 tourists visited the wildlife sanctuary spread over 193sq km.

The sanctuary abounds in natural vegetation cover and has flora and fauna hard to find elsewhere such as gaur, black buck, chital, wild dog, elephant, sloth bear, barking deer and others. There is a Shiva temple at the top of the hill, natural forest trails, watchtowers, four watering holes — Majhlabandh, Nichlabandh, Chhotkabandh and Badkabandh — as well as a museum at Makulakocha and a spotted deer enclosure.

Someone should just tell powers-that-be that soiled linen doesn’t go with wildlife haven.

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