Shimla: To decongest urban tourism and create awareness about forests and environments, the Himachal forest department has signed out memorandum of agreements (MOA) for leasing out 8 eco-tourism sites as part of a policy spelt out.
“To make a start in eco-tourism ventures, we on Tuesday signed 8 MOA’s with entrepreneurs for developing nature tourism potential sites,” said Vineet Kumar, conservator eco-tourism.
The concept had been developed on the policy laid out for private public partnership to promote eco-tourism, he said.
The sites consisting of rest houses and camping locations are to be leased out for a period of 5 years and would be monitored on a yearly basis for any environment degradation caused if they are not properly managed.
Agreements were signed for camping sites near Sanawar, Shoghi and Barog in Solan district, Naddi near McLeod Ganj in Kangra district and Hol Pukhar site near Dalhousie in Chamba district. Other than that three forest rest houses, at Ala near Dalhousie and two near Dumadevi, in Kangra and adjoining Mandi district are also to be handed out for tourism purposes.
Strict guidelines have been laid out for management of forest sites, says Kumar. A do’s and don’t list has been prepared which includes proper disposal of waste, using a mix of electric and renewable energy, no TV’s and only temporary structures are allowed, he added.
These sites have been leased out for Rs 5 to 10 lakh for the five year period after have gone through a proper procedure of inviting expression of interest, technical and financial bids, said the forester.