In Uttarakhand tiger dens, smoking and boozing will cost you
If you are caught smoking, drinking liquor or taking a walk in Corbett and Rajaji tiger reserves, you may have to pay a penalty up to ₹5,000.Updated: Nov 29, 2017 21:18 IST
Tourists beware! That next trip to the two world famous tiger reserves in Uttarakhand -- Corbett and Rajaji — may set you back by up to ₹5,000 and if you are caught smoking, drinking liquor or taking a walk to catch a glimpse of the elusive striped big cat. These are among several other norms whose violation can also put you behind bars.
With tourist footfall gathering pace now, the management of the two reserves are closely monitoring their movement and have already caught and penalised some for violating the norms.
In the one of the cases, officials revealed that a tourist was caught smoking on October 28 in Bijrani zone of the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR). The zone was thrown open for day visits on October 15. A forest staff clicked a photo of the offender and informed the senior officials.
Taking cognizance of the photographic evidence, the tourist, who belonged to Nainital, was slapped with a penalty of Rs 5000. The gypsy driver, who failed to stop the tourist, is likely to have his license cancelled for the season, said officials.
“It’s the responsibility of the gypsy driver who could have asked the tourists not to smoke,” Surendra Mehra, director Corbett told Hindustan Times.
The reserve rules mandate that activities like smoking, drinking, carrying arms, haphazard dumping of waste and others are totally banned. Eating non-vegetarian food, walking or deviating from the marked route is also punishable.
The management organises trainings and workshops for gypsy drivers and nature guides seeking their support to ensure the sanctity of the reserve.
“Christmas and New Year is coming up and we have stepped up vigilance. We won’t tolerate any violation,” Surendra Mehra, director, Corbett, told Hindustan Times.
The reserve, with highest density of tigers —215 as per last national estimation — has also installed cameras along some of the popular routes to keep close vigil over the tourists. Last year, videos of tourists blocking the path of a tiger surfaced following which this measure was adopted. In addition, patrol jeeps will also monitor the popular routes to keep check on miscreants.
Some violations regarding outcry by tourists after sighting tigers were also reported in past and the management claimed that they won’t allow a repeat.
Similarly, Rajaji management had earlier this year fined four tourists ₹50,000 each for cooking food inside forest.
“In case of first violation, we charge penalty and if there is a serial offender then we could also take legal action against them,” Sanatan Sonkar, director Rajaji said.
While nearly 3 lakh people visit Corbett in the seven months of tourist season —from November 15 to June 15 — nearly 50,000 tourists visit Rajaji during the same period.
PLAYING IT SAFE
Some of the rules for tourists visiting Corbett and Rajaji
No arms and ammunition allowed
Pets not allowed
No walking or trekking
No visits after sunset; no tourist vehicles to move inside
No non-veg food.
An arrangement to ensure disposal of waste; for this, every vehicle should have a bag to collect waste
Registered guide to accompany tourists
No fishing and angling
No playing music
Vehicles must only ply on identified routes
No blowing horns
No entry inside the core area
No chasing or teasing animals
Wear clothes complementing the natural environ like shades of green
Collect entry permits from the reception
Entry permit is non-transferable and non-refundable
Private bus not allowed in Bijrani
First Published: Nov 29, 2017 21:18 IST