Keshopur Chhamb bird sanctuary to be developed as tourist destination

Keshopur Chhamb (Gurdaspur)/February 26
In a bid to promote tourism in the border district of Gurdaspur, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked the Forest Department to expedite the work of developing the Keshopur Chhamb Bird Sanctuary as an ideal tourist destination.
The Chief Minister accompanied by senior officers of the state government visited the site of this wetland spread over nearly 850 acres to review the ongoing project of Infrastructure Development and Investment program for Tourism’ here today.
During interaction with the officers, the Chief Minister asked them to speed up the process of completing this project so that the prospects of tourism could be boosted in this border district, which would also generate new opportunities of employment for the residents of nearby villages. “The state government would take every possible step to develop this site as an ideal tourist destination because this place has a lot of untapped potential to attract the people especially the bird lovers across the globe,” Badal said, while asking the officers/officials to ensure that proper infrastructure was developed on this wetland so that the tourists could get the proper facilities along with comfortable stay at this place during their visit.
The Chief Minister also underscored the need for providing tented accommodation along with the upcoming ultra modern Tourist Interpretation centre to be equipped with audio-video facilities for disseminating more and more information to the tourists besides providing them a comfortable stay to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Likewise, Badal said that a number of trained nature guides must also be deputed so as to acquaint the visitors about the rich biodiversity of this place. He said that all these facilities would prove to be a boon for the development and conservation of this place besides showcasing it at the national as well as international level.
Assuring fulsome support and cooperation for development of this project, the Chief Minister said that the state government has already allocated Rs 3 crore in the first phase for the development of the project adding that a total sum of Rs 9 crore would be spent of the entire project. He also said that the services of experts from across the globe must be roped in for developing the place as in ideal tourist spot besides attracting more and more species of the bird. Mr. Badal also said that the services of Bombay National History society working in the field of Ornithology must also be utilized efficaciously.
Apprising the Chief Minister about the progress of the work, the Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) Rajesh Mahajan said that the work on developing the site was being undertaken as per the master plan prepared by a consultancy firm adding that more than 680 visitors/bird lovers have visited the site during the last year. He informed Badal that so far 69 species of the migratory birds from countries like Siberia, Mongolia, Upper Tibet and others have been recorded on this wetland every year during the winter season and with the completion of this project this number would witness a steep hike. Mahajan said that in order to attract more migratory birds they were constructing the bird hides as a part of this project.
Pertinently the work on this ambitious project was initiated on April 1, 2013 and was expected to be completed by March 31, 2016.