New tourist destination planned in Tripura

Agartala: Declaration of the huge 42 square km Dumbur lake dotted with islands in Tripura`s Gumati district as a Ramsar site as has been sought by the state government would enable it to be turned into a magnificent tourist destination.

Construction of cottages on the scattered islands on the huge water body, which has three hill ranges and a virgin forest in the backdrop, 83 km from here, is planned under the Detailed Project Report (DPR).

Watch towers, restaurants and a small amusement park would be contructed on Coconut Island. Stairs would be built at the Mandirghat, the gateway to the lake, while water sports would be introduced for tourists.

The river Gumati is the main watercourse in Tripura. The Raima and Sharma rivers merge to form the Gumati which runs over a stone in the shape of the head of a cow creating a natural waterfall.

The DPR was prepared by a Chandigarh-based architecture college which also gave a powerpoint presentation to Chief Minister Manik Sarkar last month.

"After three and half decades of commissioning of the lone hydroelectric project Dumbur on the river Gumati, the Tripura government has demanded its declaration as a Ramsar site following a sharp drop in water level," Forest Minister Jitendra Chowdhury said. .

The Wetland Conservation Authority (WCA) of Tripura has urged the Minstry of Environment and Forests to declare Dumbur as a Ramsar site, Chowdhury said. "Since Tripura has a large number of unidentified and unmanaged wetlands, we, from WCA, assigned the wetland identification task to a committee led by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest," the minister said.

The MoEF has agreed to provide funds for the Management and Action Plan for the Dumbur water reservoir. Nearby is Tirthamukh, a popular pilgrim centre for tribal people of the state. During `Uttarayana Sankranti` in January-February, thousands assemble and take a holy bath. The lake is also home to a large variety of migratory birds and the Spectacle Monkey, found only in Tripura and parts of Assam and Mizoram.