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Alipurduar: Plan to revamp Buxa tourist spot

Sikiajhora had developed immense popularity among tourists travelling to eastern Dooars, especially because of the 'jhora' or the stream
Representational image.
Representational image.
File photo.

Our Correspondent   |   Alipurduar   |   Published 03.04.22, 01:17 AM

The Alipurduar district administration has decided to revamp Sikiajhora, an old and popular tourist spot located on the fringes of the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) and develop accommodations for tourists visiting the region.

Sikiajhora,  located around 11km from Alipurduar town, had developed immense popularity among tourists travelling to eastern Dooars, especially because of the “jhora” or the stream which meanders through the pristine forests of the BTR.

“Tourists used to pour in at the spot and take boat rides along Sikiajhora. It is one of a kind boat ride that is available in any forest area of north Bengal. However, because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the spot was closed in 2020,” said a local resident.

As the spot remained closed, the stream turned dirty with hyacinths. Also, the adjoining children park got covered with weeds.

“We have started cleaning the stream from this week. Workers have been engaged to clear the hyacinths and other materials from the water body. Also, additional boats would be brought at the site so that more tourists can avail boat rides. We will also renovate three cottages which are on the bank of the stream and the children park. Moreover, a restaurant will be developed at the site,” said Surendra Kumar Meena, the district magistrate of Alipurduar.

According to the DM, around Rs 40 lakh would be spent to revive the spot. The spot, he said, was managed by local self-help groups whose earnings had dried because of the pandemic.

“The four-kilometre long boat ride through the forests was a unique experience

which tourists do not want to miss. We hope they will be back here again in the coming months and we can earn a living,” said a boatman of the locality.

Sources in the administration said the cottages, which are in the fringes of BTR, would provide an opportunity for tourists to stay near the reserve forest.

“As of now, tourists can visit BTR from 6am to 6pm and can’t stay inside the forest. That is why a number of private resorts which were in the forest, have been dismantled. But the cottages in Sikiajhora are outside the forest area and thus, tourists can enjoy the wild without violating the restriction,” said Tamal Goswami, who runs a travel house in Alipurduar.

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