SC asks centre to notify fresh guidelines on tiger reserves
The National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) fresh guidelines curbing tourist activity in 80% of the core area of tiger reserves would get notified in a week’s time, Bhadra Sinha reports.delhi Updated: Oct 09, 2012 23:55 IST
The National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) fresh guidelines curbing tourist activity in 80% of the core area of tiger reserves would get notified in a week’s time.
Asking the conservation authority to notify the guidelines, a Supreme Court bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar on Tuesday said: “We cannot either validate the guidelines or declare any part of the guidelines to be ultra vires (beyond power). The NTCA may, therefore, issue formal notification on the comprehensive guidelines in tiger reserves in accordance with the Act.”
The bench, however, made it clear the states would be free to challenge the guidelines. It did not lift the ban on tourism in core areas but said it would consider the plea to modify its July 24, 2012 order on October 16.
The conservation authority had on September 26 placed fresh guidelines before the court following the SC ban order. The norms envisage regulated tourist activity only in 20% of the core area of tiger reserves.
It bans fresh construction of tourist infrastructure and also recommends phasing out of existing facilities located inside the core area.
District-level committees would be constituted to identify the core areas where regulated tourism can be permitted.
Until then, there would be strict regulation on the existing structures so that they adhere to low ecological impacts.
Among other measures, the guidelines also recommend keeping visitors at a distance of at least 20 metre from all forms of wildlife and prohibiting them from luring or feeding any wild life.
Aimed at striking a balance between wildlife conservation and promotion of tourism, the guidelines further suggest charging a conservation fee from the tourism industry for eco-development and upliftment of local community.