Rejuvenating Post Fani Devastation, Balukhand Welcomes Back Tourists

Puri: The Balukhand Sanctuary which was ravaged by very severe cyclonic storm Fani on May 3 is now flourishing with a new green cover. With the onset of tourist season, the forest department has opened a nature’s camp to increase inflow of tourists into the once-most favoured destination.

According to sources, the forest authorities have set up as many as 10 luxury bamboo tents at the nature’s camp near Saikat Niwas close to Puri-Konark Marine Drive Road. Tourists can avail battery operated auto rickshaws for wildlife sightseeing in the sanctuary. Besides, the forest department has also set up a restaurant so that the visitors can relish the local food.

“I am happy to see the sanctuary develop back its greenery. The food served in the nature’s camp is really good and the rates are also very reasonable. The calmness of the place brings peace to the heart,” said a tourist from Chhatisgarh.

Reports said, lakhs of trees in hundreds of hectares of land in the sanctuary suffered extensive damage in the cyclone that barreled through the region exactly six months ago. However, after a good monsoon and large scale plantation drive, the sanctuary finally seems to get back on its feet.

“In the period following the cyclone, extensive clearing of trees was taken up in around 350 hectares of land for free movement of surviving fauna in the sanctuary. Now even vehicles can also move with ease. We have planned to plant trees in 450 hectares of land in the sanctuary this year. Out of which, plantation drive is already over in around 150 hectares and the rest will be done soon,” informed Puri District Forest Officer (DFO) Harshavardhan Udgata.