Free Press Journal

Maharashtra: State to get first ‘fossil park’ in Gadchiroli district


Mumbai: First of its kind of tourism destination in the country, state’s naxal-infested Gadchiroli district is set to get first fossil park. At present the project is at nascent stage as Maharashtra’s Directorate of Archaeology and Museums is gathering information and data from the concerned departments like Geological Survey of India (GSI).

“The proposed Wadadham fossil park (nearly 950 kilometres away from Mumbai) is located in Sironcha Taluka which is at the southern tip of the Gadchiroli district. The present proposed area for the fossil park represents upper Gondwana Kota formations belonging to early Jurassic period and the scientific investigations have revealed that present area was near sea,” said Tushar Chavan, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Sironcha, Gadchiroli circle.

Chavan further added that two paleontologists are about to visit Gadchiroli from the USA by April end. The project, spread across 2 hectare land, would create job opportunity right from watchman to different posts which will further uplift the living standard of the local residents. The proposed fossil park would boost the state tourism industry as it is located on the NH16 that connects Nizamabad in Telangana and Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.

“We would give appropriate publicity on our website and social media. Simultaneously, we would develop resort network around fossil park in Gadchiroli so that every tourist going there should not return in a day. Besides this we would create tourist circuit so that the tourists can visit some cultural spots, artisan’s collections, folk dances, etc. Also, we would promote regional foods in the area because in Maharashtra the taste of masala curry changes after 15 km,” Aashutosh Rathod, Joint MD, MTDC told the Free Press Journal.

“For each district of the state, we are calling proposals from the collector of each district under Regional Tourism Development Scheme (RTDS). So the collector of Gadchiroli would be integrating into the project to develop the infrastructure around the proposed fossil park,” said Rathod. The fossil park will house replicas of dinosaurs and exhibits of their bones and plant fossils dating back to the pre-historic period – a rare and rich collection.

State’s forest department is in touch with the GSI, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Maharashtra and other departments to shape up the project. “We will talk to the Geological Survey of India (GSI) for providing expertise. We intend to keep original objects as a lot of fossils are found in Sironcha Forest Division in Gadchiroli district which is handled by GSI,” Dr. Tejas Garge, director of Maharashtra’s Directorate of Archaeology and Museums told the Free Press Journal.