Gypsy vehicle rates to pinch tourists’ pockets in Tadoba

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Oct 2018 10:11:20


By Ramesh Marulkar,

JUNGLE safari by Gypsy vehicles is set to become dearer for tourists visiting Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) from Wednesday in view of hike in petrol prices.
Gypsy Drivers’ Association has been demanding increase in the rates of Gypsy vehicles engaged in ferrying in jungle due to ever-increasing petrol prices. A deputation of the office-bearers of the association met S S Bhagwat, Divisional Forest Officer (II), TATR, Chandrapur, to press their demand, following which he has convened a meeting of the committee on Wednesday at Chandrapur at 11 am. The committee, which is headed by Bhagwat, consists of two Range Forest Officers (Core), MSRTC technician, representative of association and representative of resort owners.

Bhagwat informed ‘The Hitavada’ on Tuesday that the meeting would listen to views of the members
and take a final decision positively. “We will try to think about interests of tourists as well as drivers and find out a way,” Bhagwat said.

Bhagwat will submit a report in this regard to N R Praveen, Field Director, TATR, Chandrapur, for his approval.
Meanwhile, reliable sources termed the high number of Gypsy vehicles as the root of the problem. Total 38 vehicles, including six for tatkal bookings, are allowed to enter the park daily during morning and evening hours from Mohurli gate. Actually, 70 vehicles are registered at this gate and they move inside on rotation basis. The problem is that drivers do not get desired income because they get one trip on alternate day. The reason behind their demand is excess number of Gypsy vehicles, sources pointed out. At present, tourists have to pay Rs 2,200 for a Gypsy for one jungle safari in core area of the tiger reserve. The rates are fixed after considering around 50 km travelling inside the core.

Existing market price of petrol vehicle of this category is fixed at Rs 12 per km whereas the charge of Gypsy in Tadoba comes to Rs 45 per km in core for tourists.
The condition of the vehicles going in the core is comparatively good whereas the Gypsy vehicles being used for jungle safari in buffer area of the park are very old and in bad condition. They have also become outdated as per pollution norms while the rates are similar to vehicles going in the core.

Travel in buffer area is around 30 km only for tourists. “Marginal increase in the rates for vehicles going in core is understandable but this should not be the case of buffer vehicles,” sources said.