Goa to develop mangrove park for conservation, eco-tourism: Official

Panaji: Goa is planning to develop a mangrove park near the state capital with an eye on conservation as well as eco-tourism, a senior official said on Saturday. A project report about developing the mangrove park in an existing mangrove-hub on the outskirts of Panaji, has already been submitted by the Mangrove Society of India to the state government, Director of Science and Technology A.G. Untawale told reporters here. "We already have mangroves in the area proposed as a mangrove park. The idea is to tap the same mangroves and create infrastructure for tourists and nature enthusiasts," Untawale said. The official said the science and technology department was in the process of creating awareness about the park and that the state government was studying the report submitted to it by the Mangrove Society of India last week. Conceived over an area of around 56 hectares and spread in marshy land around the villages of Merces, St. Cruz and the outskirts of the state capital, the proposed mangrove park is being positioned as a green biodiversity hub complete with bicycle tracks, guided visits for tourists to salt pans, where salt is harvested using traditional methods, boating, nature walks, etc. Mangroves are sturdy shrubs which grow in brackish coastal waters and host a wide range of marine life, insects and avia. Mangroves in more recent times are seen as natural shields against possible tsunamis, where the shrubs serve as ideal defence against big marauding waves caused by marine storms.