Rethinking of Tourism Hub Project at Jharkhali

Gautam Kumar Das

The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility – Albert Einstein

The fresh saline blowing wind send butterflies flying among mangrove saplings in the river flood plain of Bidya, even their flight along with the mechanized boats of flying start at Jharkhali. A couple of wild boars meander towards riverside direction for searching of food coming out of the Herobhanga jungle. Herobhanga jungle stands just opposite to mainland of Jharkhali, in between river Bidya flows. Monkeys here cover their bodies with muddy clays before tasting honey from honey combs hanging from the branches of Khalsi trees. The herd of deer stands according to height beneath the Keora trees for chewing Keora fruits (slight sour in taste), delicious to them, thrown by the rhesus monkeys climbing and jumping from one branch to another at the top of tree. Mother crocodile nests in the undisturbed forest area of Jharkhali and Herobhanga for incubation of laying eggs of her own. The nestling juveniles swim in the waters of Bidya along with their mother crocodile. Sometimes even forty juveniles come out of the eggs, but most of them are swallowed by the predators like cat fishes or large birds flying over the river water when mother crocodile trains them how to swim and cope up with the environment almost new to them. Not only crocodiles incubate their eggs here, but the tigress rear her cubs in the forest of Jharkhali and Herobhanga in order to save her cubs from the tigers that kill them and thus nip in the bud their future competitors and of course taste the soft flesh of the juveniles. Both mother crocodiles and tigress come here in the forest of Jharkhali and Herobhanga as both the places are very much calm and quiet.

Surjamani, a creek, traversing the Herobhanga island in the east-west direction looks like a canvas of an artist. Here river water ripples are small crested, fisher women even entangled with the households’ works and cooking in her boat-family when her husband continues fishing spreading long-spun net (pata-jal) in the river waters. Surjamani creek simply a calm and quiet water course with grand symphony of silence is thus befitted as the spawning ground as well as rearing habitat of crocodiles and tigers respectively.

Last year, the forest officials captured fifteen siblings of a crocodile-mother floating and swimming in the Bidya River water. Forest officials released those siblings at Bhagabatpur Crocodiles Project and the mother-crocodile left the river Bidya on that day – said Shyamal Mondal, a local resident of Jharkhali market. Night-long stay of a tigress along with her four cubs is experienced by a guard under the wooden bungalow of government fisheries department at Jharkhali. Naturally, Jharkhali is well-secured and protected natural domain of reproduction for tigress and mother-crocodiles.

Jharkhali, the forest beauty of the Sunderbans, a secured incubation place of mother-crocodiles and place for rearing cubs of the tigress and corridor of migration of Royal Bengal tigers, has been enlightened very recently to come under the project of tourism hub at Jharkhali area. Naturally Jharkhali would be no more a safe place for the juveniles and cubs of the crocodiles and tigers if the project is going to be materialized. Wild boar, deer, monkeys, tigers and crocodiles would be then replaced with the picnic party – tourists and their huge noise. It would be wise to rethink the project and a good deal of rethinking is necessary for coming to a foolproof decision.

Aug 18, 2018

Gautam Kumar Das [email protected]

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