The government has decided to invest around Rs 1 billion for the construction of a biodiversity park and other infrastructures at Raniban, a forest that surrounds Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
According to Dil Bahadur Chhetri, assistant research officer at the Department of Plant Resources (DPR), the government´s plan to convert Raniban into a tourist destination will be executed in five years. “The first phase construction work has already begun. Compound walls around the forest will be built within this year.”
The bio-diversity park will have a botanical garden, picnic spots, rock garden, orchard, and aviary. He said 1,200 meters of the 3km compound will be constructed in the first phase. Likewise, an information centre, water tanks, toilets will also be built within this year.
Talking to Republica, Chhetri informed the government has already invited tender bids for first phase construction two months ago. Four companies have applied for the construction contract. One of them will be awarded the contract in a few days. The government has allocated Rs 6 million for the first phase. The government plans to spend Rs 19 million in the project next year.
Chhetri said the forest would be converted into a key tourist destination in Pokhara in five years if the government continues to allocate sufficient budget every year.
According to DPR, Raniban covers an area of 148 hectares but no infrastructure will be built in 90 hectares of the forest.
Tourism entrepreneurs say the construction of the bio-diversity park will boost tourism in Pokhara. Vice president of Western Regional Hotel Association Bharat Parajuli said the forest after completion of the project would be yet another tourist attraction.
According to studies, there are six hundred and seventy two species of plants and wildlife in the forest.
source: ekantipur, 14 Feb 2014