Rajasthan forest dept to get Haathi Gaon reins, ₹8-cr facelift plan ready
The state government plans to shift the management of the Haathi Gaon (elephant village) in Jaipur from the tourism to the forest department to give the tourism project a faceliftjaipur Updated: Apr 15, 2017 19:45 IST
The state government plans to shift the management of the Haathi Gaon (elephant village) in Jaipur from the tourism to the forest department to give the tourism project a facelift, officials said.
The government hired a consultant to prepare an ₹8-crore action plan to improve the condition of the elephant village.
India’s first elephant village, launched in 2010 to attract tourists, is in a sorry state now. The project for more than 100 elephants and their mahouts aimed at providing a natural park-like shelter for jumbos with plantations and creating attractions for tourists.
“Earlier the village was managed by the Amber Development and Management Authority (ADMA); the tourism department was later given the responsibility,” a senior forest department official said on condition of anonymity.
“With the tourism department lacking in experience and expertise to handle the village, it is being considered to transfer the management to the forest department.”
Though elephants are paraded to the Amber fort for the tourists, they live in a pitiable state at the Haathi Gaon.
“The forest department will manage Haathi Gaon like a zoo, on the lines of Nahargarh Biological Park,” the official said. “We will develop it; an action plan has been prepared through a consultant – under which development works will be carried out with ₹8 crore. The works will be executed by the Jaipur Development Authority,” he said.
The works will include landscaping, plantation, deepening of water bodies, and adding more sheds for elephants, the official said. “Overall, the effort is to improve the habitat.”
An office-bearer of Haathi Malik Vikas Samiti said, “It seems that after launching the project in 2010, the government forgot it. From ADMA, the elephant village was transferred to the tourism department in 2014; thereafter the situation here started deteriorating.”
He said water scarcity hit plantations. “There is no one to take care of the project.”
He said 116 elephants and 51 families stay in the village. “We charge a tourist ₹1100 for a ride, of which we get ₹850 and the rest is deducted as tax – including ₹60 for development of village and ₹30 for welfare fund. The tax is charged but there is no development works or maintenance,” he said.