National parks in MP cannot increase tourist capacity

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Jan 2019 12:30:05


Staff Reporter,

National parks in Madhya Pradesh are not allowed to increase the tourist capacity. Even on New Year celebration, authorities did not allow national parks to allow higher number of vehicles or tourists inside the reserves.

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has said that tourist footfall in all national parks will remain same as last year. Recently, on December 24, PCCF wildlife directed Business Analyst MP Online to amend the website as per need and display the caring capacity of all national parks for the general public. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Government have recently urged NTCA to increase the tourist capacity of national parks, which was rejected. NTCA officials presented the example of court’s guidelines and said, tourist 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 tourist footfall in tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh. Following the statement of then Principal Secretary Hariranjan Rao, Forest Department also released guidelines regarding the issue. Based on the guidelines, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve raised the number of vehicles inside the reserve area from 111 to 147.

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 guideline for 20 percent 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 tourist in any tiger reserve. All things are being done as per guidelines of NTCA and court.”