Bhubaneswar: India’s best-kept secret not only has amazing eco-tourism sites, one of them has set a standard in providing livelihood to village residents and freed the place of forest fires, poaching and the sand mafia.
Badmul, inside Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Nayagarh district, is one of the 40 community-based Eco-Tourism projects in the state. It is popularly known as Satkosia Sands Resort and Nature Camp. It has nine tents on the banks of the river Mahanadi and seven cottages on the mountain slope overlooking the Satkosia Gorge.
Managed by 28 village residents, this sustainable project has generated Rs 1.3 crore in revenue in 2018-19, up from Rs 60 lakh the year before and Rs 27 lakh in 2016-17. Interestingly, 90 per cent of the revenue generated goes back to the community, who are the stakeholders of the project.
The villager residents, who were poverty stricken earlier, now earn a healthy Rs 1.5-2 lakh a year per family.
Around 3,000-odd visitors, 20 per cent of them foreign tourists from Germany, France, Britain and other places, visited it in 2016-17.
Like Mangalajodi in Chilika, the forest department runs a “Poachers Turned Protectors of Satkosia” programme here as well. Apart from being able to interact with them, tourists can enjoy birding, boating, cycling, trekking, farm visits, village tours and even a first-in-the-state nature canopy walk.