NTCA ‘no’ to increase tourists’ influx in tiger reserves

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Nov 2018 11:20:44


By Ankita Garg,

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has denied permission for increasing tourists’ footfall in tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh. The proposal was placed in the recent meeting with NTCA and reserve directors.

NTCA officials presented the example of court’s guidelines and said tourists influx is fixed for all tiger reserves and it cannot be increased without prior permission of the court. On October 18, CM’s Principal Secretary Hariranjan Rao stated to increase the footfall in tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh. Following the statement of Principal Secretary Hariranjan Rao, the Forest Department also released a guidelines regarding the issue. Based on the guidelines, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve raised the number of vehicles inside the reserve area from 111 to 147. A few other tiger reserves of State also started increasing number of vehicles and tourists in their areas.

Meanwhile, Forest Department sent a proposal to the NTCA for final approval of increasing tourist footfall in reserves. In the meeting with reserve directors, NTCA officials strictly denied the same. Prayatna, RTI activist Ajay Dubey also raised objection over the matter and filed complaint with the election commission regarding statement of Hariranjan Rao.  Ajay Dubey said that Supreme Court had earlier (year 2012) directed to make a fixed guideline by NTCA for tourist crowd in tiger reserves. NTCA has fixed the guidelines for 20 per cent tourist in core area. All tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh are at present following the same guidelines prepared by NTCA during year 2012.

“Guidelines for tourism in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries has been fixed by NTCA under Supreme Court guidance. If anyone tries to change the rule, it will be contempt of court. NTCA has rejected the proposal of forest department and I have also filed complaint against the officials making proposal for the same,” said Ajay Dubey, RTIO activist and Secretary Prayatna NGO. Talking to ‘The Hitavada’, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF) Alok Kumar said, “It was just a proposal and we are not increasing number of tourists in any tiger reserve. All things are being done as per guidelines of NTCA and court.”