In order to provide the experience of watching birds at close quarters at the islets of Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary even in summer, when the level of the Cauvery has dropped, the Forest Department has decided to procure new flat-bottomed boats that can sail even in knee-deep waters.
The department which is the custodian of the famous eco-sensitive zone, has been offering boating rides to visitors for several decades now. It has a fleet of manually-operated boats (canoes) for the purpose.
Nevertheless, the service is stopped in summers considering the safety of tourists as the water level in the river drops. It is not advisable to operate the canoe-type boats, currently being used to ferry tourists at the sanctuary, when the level in the Cauvery falls to 5 ft, as there will be chances of the bottom of the boat (at least 4 ft will be submerged in the water) hitting the rocks beneath. Hence, the department has decided to procure new boats.
The department has already floated a tender to procure five boats in the initial stage. The new boats are expected to reach the sanctuary in a few weeks, the officer said.
The sanctuary attracts several hundred tourists – both domestic and foreign – daily, who often express disappointment over the suspension of boating during summer. The to-be procured boats come with flat-bottoms and can easily sail in less water.