TN to turn Eastern Ghats a tourist hub
The objective is to divert tourists to the Eastern Ghats as high footfall has negatively impacted wildlife in Western Ghats. Ecotourism will be promoted in the new sites.
CHENNAI: With tourist rush to Western Ghats impacting its wildlife, the State forest department has decided to improve as many as 13 tourist spots in Eastern Ghats to divert the visitors’ flow from West to East.
According to a department document, Kurumbapatti, Yercaud, Aiyur, Denkanikottai, Hogenakkal waterfall, Kollimalai, Medicinal Plants Conservation Area, Akash Ganga waterfalls, Yelagiri, Amirthi, Jamnamarathur, Beeman waterfall, and Kular cave — in Salem, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Namakkal, Tirupattur, Tiruvannamalai districts — will be developed as eco-tourism spots.
The objective, the document says, is to divert tourists to the Eastern Ghats, “as high footfall has negatively impacted wildlife in Western Ghats”. Ecotourism will be promoted in the new sites involving the forest department and other stakeholders.
Apart from upgrading the lesser-known spots in Eastern Ghats, the government will also revitalise 155 tribal villages in Dharmapuri, Hosur, Erode, Sathy, Hasanur, Namakkal, Salem, Tiruchy, Tirupattur, Tiruvannamalai, Dindigul Attur, Vellore and Villupuram, conserving biodiversity and improving livelihood of the natives.
This includes capacity building and skill development training for youth and free LPG connection to tribal families. Heritage conservation steps will be taken with better paths, resting facility, solar lights, borewells, shade trees, rainwater structures and solar CCTV cameras.
The project, to be implemented under TN Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project for Climate Change Response with Rs 920 crore funding from Japan International Cooperation Agency, will be implemented for eight years from FY23 to FY30.
An official, meanwhile, said the government will undertake a baseline survey in eco-tourism spots and tribal villages before rolling out the plan.