//Koyilandy to have Country's first mangrove park

Koyilandy to have Country's first mangrove park

Kozhikode: Koyilandy will have the first mangrove park in the country. The Rs. 1-crore project, aimed at preserving mangrove forests, is being developed by the municipality.

"Such a park is being established for the first time in India," K. Dasan, municipal chairman, told The Hindu here on Saturday.

The park is being envisaged in mangrove forests stretching for 3 km from Kanayamkode to Nelliyadikkadu in Koyilandy. The municipality has acquired land for the project.

Mr. Dasan said that, initially, a building would be constructed at Analayakkadu to house a research and resource library, a mangrove nursery, an aquarium and an amusement centre for schoolchildren.

The library will have books and reference material about mangrove forests in the world. Books are being obtained from various sources. Mr. Dasan said the nursery would be developed with saplings bought from various parts of the country, mainly Kolkata.

Another feature of the project will be facilities for boat riding, adjoining the park, for schoolchildren. According to Mr. Dasan, this is to help schoolchildren be aware of the need to conserve mangrove forests and protect the environment. The children can enjoy sightseeing, in addition to learning about birds and other creatures in mangroves. The municipality has ordered two boats.

Approval received —The Department of Forest and Wildlife has approved setting up the park. Mr. Dasan said although the department had not given funds, Minister for Forests and Environment A. Sujanapal had promised aid. The municipality had earmarked Rs. 20 lakhs for the park, he added.

Officials have approached the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment to release some funds for the project. They have submitted the project to the Ministry, through the State Government.

Recently, the Centre sanctioned Rs. 3 crores to preserve mangrove forests at Swapna Nagari and adjoining areas in Kozhikode city. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will declare the area National Mangrove Forest during his visit to the State in February.

The State Government is also planning to approach the Centre for funds for a Rs. 35-crore eco-tourism project, prepared by Tourism Resorts Kerala Ltd. The project, to be implemented by the Department of Tourism, the Department of Forests and Wildlife and the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, will be set up on 104.8 hectares of land in Swapna Nagari wetlands.

Proposals are also there to establish a conservation centre and bird sanctuary, lay jogging tracks and walkways and arrange boat rides for tourists.

Mr. Dasan said the municipality was going ahead with the project depending on its own resources for the time being. It would be completed within a year, he added