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Steps underway to upgrade Wilpattu’s infrastructure

Steps are being taken to upgrade the infrastructural facilities at the Anuradhapuyra Wilpattu National Sanctuary in the line of the Yala Development Project. Wilpattu was declared a national park 80 years ago, in 1938. The sanctuary is bounded to the Anuradhapura, Puttlam, and Mannar districts.

According the Wildlife Department, the Wilpattu sanctuary has earned an income of Rs. 869, 940, 254 in 2017. It was learnt, although the visiting time for sight-seeing in the park had been limited to half day during the period between last June and August, there was no decrease in the numbers of tourists visiting the park. A spokesman of the department said in 2017, the number of tourists visiting the sanctuary was 75,726, including 49,114 local and 26,612 foreign tourists—which is comparably higher than the 2016 intake.

At present, there are eight tourist bungalows on the banks of the lakes of Kokmotai, Mahawila, Manikwila, Thalawila, Panikkawila, Lunuwewa, Mahawewa, and Maradanmaduwa (dormitory nature), where around 130 tourists could get accommodation. In addition, there are two camp sites at Mailawewa and Kokmotai, where only security and water facilities are provided.

According to the Wildlife Department spokesman, it has been proposed to open two more tourist bungalows with additional dormitory accommodation facilities and two new camp sites along the Wilpattu beach, under the development programme. The present strength of staff of 100, including 23 volunteer guides, is also planned to be increased twofold, since the present carders are not adequate to cover the colossal landscape of Wilpattu. Necessary facilities are to be increased for tourists to view large numbers of archaeological sites scattered in the sanctuary, presently covered with a thick jungle, in collaboration with the Archaeological Department.