Rajasthan govt fails to find consultant for fossil park
The forest department had chalked out a plan worth Rs 10.90 crore to convert the fossil park into a tourist destination.Updated: Jun 07, 2018 22:30 IST
The plan to make the Akal Wood Fossil Park, located 18km from Jaisalmer, a centre of attraction for the tourists is stuck.
The forest department had chalked out a plan worth Rs 10.90 crore to convert the fossil park into a tourist destination and chief minister Vasundhara Raje had allocated a budget of Rs 5 crore in 2017-18 to carry out the work under first phase of the project, but no consultant has showed interest in it.
“There was a need for the detail project report (DPR) to implement Akal project, for which the department had issued a tender for the services of experienced consultant, but none of the consultants showed interest. Later, efforts were made to hire the services of the consultant through state government promoted company PDCOR, but there was no success,” said a senior forest official, on the condition of anonymity.
“The fossils of ancient woods preserved in the park take domestic and foreign tourists millions of years back to the pre-historical period; the park is also a learning centre for students and geologists. Therefore, the project cannot be implemented without the expert’s services,” said the official.
According to the forest department plan, besides preserving fossils scientifically, a golf car is to be purchased for the movement of tourists in the park. Walking trails, cactus and guggul planting, high-quality signage, an interactive interpretation centre and a 3D movie theatre are also proposed.
“With an objective of conserving existing fossils and making the park a centre of excellence among desert museums and in geological history, it is proposed to develop this area with tourism and interpretation facilities, but now the future of this project will depend on the reallocation of the budget,” said the official.
Fossilisation took place about 180 million years ago and huge trees were petrified. The dominant land plant species of the time were gymnosperms that were vascular, cone-bearing and non-flowering plants such as conifers, which produced seeds without a coating. “The presence of gigantic trees suggests the land that turned a desert had hot and humid climates, which supported a luxuriant forest. The trunks of these trees, buried in sediments in a horizontal form and petrified, became fossils. Geological upheavals brought these fossils to the surface,” said the official.
The wood fossils are a unique feature of the Thar desert depicting the geological changes that had occurred in the region. The rocks found in Jaisalmer are rich with fossils of sea animals. “The geological upheavals had led to disappearance of forests and rivers, and invasion of sea before the desert was formed,” said the official.