KERALA

Mankayam project to be commissioned today



Staff Reporter

Will help provide employment to the local people

Will ensure safety of hundreds who flock to the cascading waterfalls Entry fee to be used to protect the forest and banks of the Chittar

Thiruvananthapuram: The eco-tourism project conceived to tap the tourism potential of the Idinjar-Mankayam regions and to preserve their natural beauty will be commissioned by Minister for Forest Benoy Viswom on Tuesday.

The Thiruvananthapuram Forest Development Agency has joined hands with the Kerala Tourism and the Forest Department to set up the project in Nedumangadu taluk.

The project will also ensure the safety of hundreds who flock to the cascading waterfalls on the Chittar river.

The project is expected to provide employment to the local people, help visitors get to know nature from close quarters and kindle interest among the younger generation in the history of the region.

The entry fee collected from visitors arriving at the project site would be deposited in a fund and used to protect the forest and banks of the river, said official sources. The funds would also be used to conserve the forest and keep the place litter-free.

The project is being implemented as part of the Union Government's Participatory Forest Management Programme. Vana Samrakshana Samithis (VSSs) with involvement of those who depend on the forests for their livelihood were set up as part of the programme.

As many as 12 VSSs were set up in the capital district in the first phase. VSSs were set up in Manakayam and Ponmudi this year. This is the second eco-tourism project being implemented by the agency in the district.

The first eco-tourism project was inaugurated at Kallar en route to the hill resort of Ponmudi in 2003-2004.

In the past three years, 75,000 tourists visited the eco-tourism project at Kallar.

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