Special Correspondent

Udhagamandalam: A honey and bee museum put up by Keystone Foundation, a Kotagiri-based non-governmental organisation, was declared open by secretary, Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Meena Gupta, here recently.

In her inaugural address, she said it was the first of its kind in the country and the project had been in the pipeline for sometime now.

Expressing the hope that it would play a key role in furthering the cause of the tribal honey gatherers, she said the honey collected by the tribals was in many ways different from the common varieties available in the market. The museum would facilitate wider dissemination of knowledge about honey and associated products.

The Nilgiris Collector, Santosh K. Misra, declared open a `Green Shop' that formed part of the museum. He said the establishment of such a facility here would give a boost to tourism.

Director of Keystone Foundation Pratim Roy said the museum was divided into different sections such as bee biology, honey hunting, bee keeping, bee habitat and traditional tools used for gathering honey.

Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore, P.C.Tyagi, senior forest officials and tribal honey collectors were present.