Snehasish at the Bengal Safari Park on Tuesday. The male tiger that was brought from Odisha, along with a female, would soon be released in an enclosure where tourists can see them. Picture by Passang Yolmo
The state government has planned a number of projects, including tiger, leopard and bear safaris and tourist lodges, in its year-old park near Salugara.
The Bengal Safari Park that was inaugurated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee in January last year has drawn over 2 lakh visitors till now. It has rhino, deer, birds and gharials. Recently, two tigers named Snehasish and Shila were brought in from Odisha.
Today, Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb said his department and the forest department together had drafted a proposal to build a tourist circuit around the park.
"We have taken up the task of building accommodation at a nearby location and promoting homestays in the area. The idea is to develop a new integrated tourist circuit with the park as the principal attraction," he said.
Deb added that the chief minister had instructed him to look for options to create additional infrastructure near the park, which is off NH31, around 8km from here.
"We have tigers here and a date to start a safari will be finalised soon. We also plan to introduce leopard and Himalayan bear safaris and elephant rides before the monsoon. Four pet elephants will be brought here for the rides," Deb said. Now, the park has 10 cars which are used for rhino, deer and wild cat safari.
Deb said 50 cottages would be built at Turibari near the park at a cost of Rs 10 crore. "There are two more places - Chamakdangi and Laltangbusty. We are encouraging people to open homestays there."
He added: "We will spend Rs 5 crore on a nature interpretation centre at the park. Four souvenir shops, a cafeteria and a bird zone will also come up."