THREE solar-powered vehicles to ferry tourists inside Bhitarkanika National Park of Kendrapara district were introduced on Monday. The park was reopened for tourists after a gap of three months. It was closed from May 1 to July 31 for the mating and nesting season of salt water crocodiles.
Divisional Forest Officer Bimal Prasan Acharya said, tourists can use the paid services of solar-powered vehicles that will make continuous trips in the core areas of the mangrove forest. The pollution-free and soundless vehicles would be useful for tourists as outside vehicles have been prohibited in the park. Besides, the slow-moving vehicles would not be a cause for any accident for pedestrians walking in the forest, he added.
“The three solar-powered vehicles have been bought at a cost of `5.25 lakh. Each vehicle has the capacity to carry five persons and the charges have been fixed at `20 per person,” Acharya said.
“It is a good step towards a pollution-free environment in Bhitarkanika. It is also high time for the authorities to motivate boat operators to use noiseless mechanised boats within the park. More than 40 mechanised boats operate in Bhitarkanika daily to ferry tourists. The boat-owners generally use nine HP diesel engines with noise level going beyond 90 decibels. The sound of boats disturbs salt-water crocodiles, spotted deer, migratory birds and other animals in Bhitarkanika,” said Sanghamitra Jena, founder of Eastern Treasure India Tours.