Virendra Singh Rawat / Lucknow
Looking to boost tourism sector and generate local jobs, the Uttar Pradesh government has launched a novel One District One Destination (ODOD) scheme.
ODOD is modelled on the state’s flagship One District One Product (ODOP) scheme, which is aimed at promoting the traditional handicraft and indigenous products. The state will constitute an Ecotourism Board to take forward this agenda.
Under the ODOD template, the state has identified 56 ecotourism sites in 56 districts. It involved identifying a destination in every district that could be branded as an eco-tourism hotspot to attract nature enthusiasts.
On the direction of chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the UP forest department was tasked with identifying the potential tourist area in the respective districts for integrating with tourism.
While UP has an array of ecotourism spots, the most prominent ones are the tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and wetlands. A plethora of such areas endowed with scenic natural beauty will be hoisted on the state ecotourism map.
The Katarniya Ghat Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the Upper Gangetic plain falling in Bahraich boasts of tigers and a mosaic of sal and teak woods. The Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is notable for being the natural habitat of the ‘barasingha’ (swamp deer).
Similarly, Majhauli Sagar of Siddharthnagar, Badela Tal (lake) of Azamgarh and the Ghoomar Tal of Jaunpur will get special recognition as ecotourism destinations.
“There is immense potential for ecotourism in UP. The location of each district is suitable for specific natural, environmental or wildlife tourism. If these places are interconnected, then it can attract tourists for picnics, or one-day-tour,” a senior official said.
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The 56 destinations include Dudhwa National Park in Lakhimpur Kheri, Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary in Chandauli, Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in Bahraich, Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary in Chitrakoot, Mahavir Swami Wildlife Sanctuary in Lalitpur, Soorsarovar Bird Sanctuary in Agra, Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary in Mirzapur, Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary in Meerut, Amangarh Tiger Reserve in Bijnor, Sohelwa Wildlife Sanctuary in Balrampur and Turtle Breeding Centre in Varanasi.
The list includes Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in Pilibhit, Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary in Unnao, Samaspur Bird Sanctuary in Rae Bareli, Lakhbahosi Bird Sanctuary in Kannauj, Sandi Bird Sanctuary in Hardoi, Bakhira Bird Sanctuary in Sant Kabirnagar, Okhla Bird Sanctuary in Gautam Buddha Nagar, Saman Bird Sanctuary in Mainpuri, Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary in Gonda, Vijay Sagar Bird Sanctuary in Mahoba, Patna Bird Sanctuary in Etah, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Bird Sanctuary in Pratapgarh, Shekha Lake Aligarh in Aligarh, Zoological Parks in Lucknow, Kanpur and Gorakhpur, Lion Safari in Etawah, Mini Zoo Izzat Nagar in Bareilly and Dakhan Lake in Ambedkar Nagar.
The remaining areas comprise Badela Tal in Azamgarh, Khanpur Forest Block in Auraiya, Magahi Lake in Kanpur Dehat, Alwara Wetland in Kaushambi, Shahganj Wetland (Ghoomar Tal) in Jaunpur, Akhnai Lake in Fatehpur, Kuthila Lake in Farrukhabad, Samada Lake in Ayodhya, Sindhuwa Tal in Deoria, Diabani Temple Pailani in Banda, Bhaghar Wetland in Barabanki, Samdha Tal in Bhadohi , Jodhpur Tal in Mathura, Elephant Reserve in Saharanpur, Majhauli Sagar in Siddharthnagar, Ajjaipur Lake in Sitapur, Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary in Sonbhadra, Kandunala Forest Block in Amethi, Maudha Dam in Hamirpur, Nagla Shekha Wetland in Hathras, Sant Ravidas Van Vihar in Basti, Van Devi Temple in Mau, Municipal Corporation Biodiversity Park in Shahjahanpur, Chandanpur Ghatiyari Biodiversity Park in Kasganj, Chand Khamaria Krishna Deer Conservation Area in Prayagraj and Jai Prakash Narayan Bird Sanctuary (Surhatal) in Ballia.