Contrary to its statement that it wants to promote tourism outside tiger reserves to ease tourist pressure, MP forest department has not been forthcoming in granting visitors the permission to explore the forests near Kolar.
The permission is being denied on the grounds that there is wildlife movement in the area. The department’s insistence at not granting permission seems to stem from the belief that it regards tourists as a threat to wildlife.
The forests near Kolar are home to almost half a dozen tigers that also make regular appearances near the Kerwa and Kaliasot reservoirs. A part of the area of the forests fall under the Ratapani sanctuary while the remaining area falls under the Sehore forest division.
Anjali Singh of the Ratapani range, which is a retreat located at Birpur near the Kolar dam, said that she had applied for permission to take their guests for drives to the Ratapani sanctuary. However, the range officer has not given them permission as yet on ground that there is wildlife movement in the area.
"Tourists are the best protection for wildlife. Tourist presence in a forest acts as a deterrent for those targeting wildlife. I had asked the forest department for permission to take guests for drives inside the Ratapani sanctuary but they have not accorded the permission and have not given any reasons for refusing," she said.
"We were told that the department was keen to promote tourism outside tiger reserves to ease tourist pressure from them. In that case they should have considered our application. We have given an undertaking that we would follow all rules and take a designated guide with us," she added.
"I will take up the matter with the Bhopal circle of the forest department. Responsible tourism should be promoted," said CEO of the MP ecotourism board, Vinay Varman.
Causes of denial
The permission to explore Kolar forests is being denied on the grounds that there is wildlife movement in the area.
The forests are home to almost half a dozen tigers that also make regular appearances.