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Visitors oppose entry fee to Debkund, Lulung in Simlipal

Written by: Staff
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Baripada, Mar 24 (UNI) Picnickers and nature lovers are sore over the recent decision of the Simlipal Tiger Reserve (STR) authorities to collect entry fee for visiting Debkund and Lulung inside the Simlipal forest.

Both the sites are considered as most favourable picnic spots for hundreds of visitors are located in the ''buffer zone'' of the Reserve forest.

Sources said the checkgates would be established at the entry points of these two natural spots for facilitating collection of entry fee with effect from April 1, STR sources said. The visitors were so long enjoying free entrance into these two natural spots.

But with the restriction picnicking would be banned .

Debkund where nature nestles within folds of hills is particularly important for being a great ''Peethha'' of Goddess Ambika. An estimated three lakh visitors throng Debkund each year during various fairs and festivals to enjoy nature in its pristine glories.

Neither the STR authorities nor the State Tourism Department had so far provided any facility for the visitors, not even a good road, said Monoranjan Mohapatra, a travel agent operating from Baripada.

STR Field Director Debabrata Swain when contacted said that the imposition of the ''entry fee''was justified as both these places were located within the Simlipal Tiger Reserve.

On the ban on picnicking, he said that the forest floor was being littered with plastic, polythene bags, containers and other garbage which were injurious for the wild animals. These waste plastic and polythene materials carried by picnickers could lead to death of wild animals due to ''asphyxiation'', the STR Field Director said.

UNI XC DP KK MSJ RK1429

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