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Jul 30, 2009

Eco-tourism initiatives at Kovai Coutrallam nearing completion


A good news for entertainment-starved Coimbatoreans. Thanks to the eco-tourism initiatives of the Forest Department, Kovai Coutrallam will soon become a sought-after picnic spot for people to escape from the concrete jungles.This is the first of its kind initiative to tap the immense tourism potential lying untapped in the scenic sketch of the western ghats abutting Coimbatore. Last year, the Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, R. Kannan, and District Forest Officer I. Anwardeen mooted a proposal for bringing in tourist-friendly facilities at Kovai Coutrallam. The plan implementation began last year and the works are nearing completion.

The authorities propose to the throw the facilities open in the next few months after the finishing touches are over. Works are in full swing under the supervision of Range Officer, Pooluvampatti, G. Rajeshwaran.The outlay for the initiatives is close to Rs. 79.35 lakh over a period of two years. The objective is to tap the tourism potential but at the same time ensure guided, restricted and regulated tourism without causing even an iota of disturbance to the system.

The project envisages to ensure that the tourists had a feel of nature and the revenue generated therein goes to the kitty of the eco-tourism committees. These initiatives would help in employment generation and livelihood sustenance of the tribal communities.Tribals are being appointed as watchers and guides to carry the project forward in addition to appointing tribal women as watchers in the women bathing area at the falls and also for cleaning the area.

The eco-tourism initiatives included an interpretation hall at the Chadivayal check-post wherein there would be display of specimen or samples of flora and fauna present in the Siruvani hills. Tourists on arrival would go through the interpretation hall and learn about the flora and fauna with the help of explanations kept there. There will also be a wildlife film show.For those willing to spend more than a day, the Forest Department is also constructing four rest houses - two ordinary type rest houses and two tree-top rest houses for those wanting to have a feel of nature in its pristine glory.

Similarly, an elevated walkway is also coming for nearly 150 mts wherein adventure-seeking tourists could walk and have a feel of the canopy. Similarly, a ropeway for the adventure-loving tourists is also coming up for providing a feel of river crossing by hanging and gliding through the ropeway.

A watch tower is also coming up for enabling the tourists to have a view of the valley and the upper reaches of the Kovai Coutrallam falls as the silver line cascades from the Western Ghats. The existing forest rest house at Pooluvampatti has also been renovated at a cost of Rs. 4 lakh. At Chadivayal, a canteen hall is coming up for the benefit of tourists staying there and day tourists who bring their own food. The measure is aimed at avoiding the reserve forest area being littered with packing materials such as plastic.

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