The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 13 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Close to town, but far from the madding crowd

- Assam tourism department plans to tap the beauty of Chandubi lake to woo tourists and generate employment

Borjhar, May 12: A wide expanse of water surrounded by hills and greenery and yet not very far from the city — Chandubi lake has all the trappings of a tourist destination.

It is this potential that the state tourism department is planning to tap and woo more tourists to the spot, which is located 60km from Guwahati. The move is also expected to generate jobs.

“We want to exploit the tourism potential of this solitary and secluded site and in the process create jobs, which is one of the objectives of the government,” the director of state tourism department, Anjan Chakraborty, told this correspondent.

He said the department is planning to build a walking track along the bank of the lake, which is spread over 200 hectares along the Barduar and Mayang Hill reserve forests under Kamrup West forest division, and showcase the beauty of the lush green Barduar tea estate near the lake. The road from Bagan (50km from Guwahati) to Muduki (5km from Bagan) bisects the tea estate. “We have decided to develop the site because it is close to the city and endowed with natural beauty. It could also be a good weekend getaway,” Chakraborty said.

Besides, Chandubi has a tourist lodge. Pobitora, Deepor Beel, Hajo and Sualkuchi are the other sites that attract tourists visiting the city.

A delegation, including Chakraborty, which visited Chandubi recently for an on-the-spot study, found the lake to have the makings of an excellent tourist spot and thus the potential to generate employment. Chakraborty said chief secretary Jitesh Khosla had also given ideas on how to promote tourism at Chandubi.

“The tourism department will execute a phase-wise plan and a coordination committee with the involvement of local people will be formed shortly. In fact, we could tie-up with Barduar tea estate for tourists to be taken on a tour of the garden,” he added.

Will boat rides be re-introduced in the lake? The Kamrup district administration had banned it following the death of a student of Indian Institute of Information Technology, Guwahati, last month. Vashmi Krishna, a second semester B. Tech student of computer science, had drowned in the lake on April 13.

Kamrup deputy commissioner J. Balaji, who accompanied the visiting team, said since there were stumps of sal trees in the lake, boat riding could not be done during lean season without cleaning the lake. “We will clean up a portion of the lake to facilitate safe boat rides,” he added. He, however, made it clear that all options were open for discussion. “Before initiating any work, an in-depth study will be conducted so that the eco-system of the wetland remains intact,” he said.

An Important Bird Area (IBA) of A1 criteria (threatened species), Chandubi is a permanent fresh water lake. Divisional forest officer of Kamrup West forest division B.C. Das, who was party to the discussion, said the department’s priority was conservation of the lake. “We are not opposed to Chandubi-centric tourism development if it is executed without any adverse impact on environment,” he said.