Covid effect: Dalma Sanctuary shuts doors indefinitely
Dalma wildlife sanctuary has drawn curtains on tourists due to the spike in Covid-19 cases across the country.
Authorities have cancelled bookings and also refunded money to the tourists who had planned to spend quality time amid natural surroundings.
The 192 sq km elephant abode, 30 km from Jamshedpur, has been closed on orders from the state government.
Dalma range officer (West) Dinesh Chandra said the sanctuary has been shut for tourists on orders from the state government. "We have cancelled bookings and refunded money to the tourists. The sanctuary will re-open as and when the government orders the same," he added.
Sources revealed that the accommodations - plush AC and non-AC cottages and rooms at Makulakocha, the bamboo hut on the foothills and the three rooms atop the hill in Pinderbera - have been sanitised. "Barring a few villagers who live inside the sanctuary, entry for others is restricted," a forester said.
Sources said the sanctuary would remain closed for tourists as long as the government doesn't come up with strict measures in order to rein in the spread of the virus.
The shutting of the Dalma sanctuary would mean delay in inauguration of ther renovated museum and the information kiosk at Makulakocha. Both the facilities are ready for inauguration. But now it would get delayed.
"It is peak season and tourists from Jharkhand, Bengal and Odisha had book the accommiodation for over a month. The facilities were reserved for over a month. But, owing to the crisis, all bookings stand cancelled," another forester said.
Sunil Mohanty from Kadma in Jamshedpur, who had booked two rooms at Pinderabera, said he was disappointed. "I had booked the rooms as my relatives were scheduled to come from Raipur. I was eager to spend quality time with them. But now my booking has been cancelled. But nothing can be done in these circumstances," Mohanty, a businessman, said.
The Dalma sanctuary was earlier shut for tourists (due to Covid) in March 2020 and reopened after nearly a year. The elephant abode was again closed in April last year (due to the same reason) and reopened after six months.