The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), India’s nodal body for protection and conservation of tigers, has introduced the new guidelines for tourism in and around tiger reserves and national parks. Under this rule there will be no night stay inside the core areas of the Tiger Reserves and National Parks of India.
You must be aware about that tourism in Tiger Reserves is regulated and managed as per the prescriptions given in Tiger Conservation Plan approved by National Tiger Conservation Authority under section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The basic principle behind the regulation and management of tourism in Tiger Reserves is to adopt low-impact wildlife tourism, which protects ecological integrity of forest and wildlife areas, secure wildlife values and its surrounding areas while maintaining the Core Areas as inviolate space.
Sathiana Forest Rest House in Dudhwa National Park
The guidelines under provisions of the Act and relevant directions of Hon’ble Apex Court are;
- The tourism in Tiger Reserves is governed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (Normative Standards for Tourism activities and Project Tiger) Guidelines, 2012 notified under 38 0 1 (c) vide F. No. 15-31/2012-NTCA dated 15.10.2012, which were further re-iterated by Hon’ble Apex court in Shri Ajay Dubey Vs National Tiger Conservation Authority and OR’s, SLP (civil) No.(s). 21339/2011, Decided on October 16, 2012. Para 2.2.12 of these Guidelines provides for phasing out of permanent tourist facilities from core critical areas of Tiger Reserve as below;
Permanent tourist facilities located inside core or critical tiger habitat, which are being used for wildlife tourism shall be phased out on a time frame decided by the LAC. Strict plans ensuring low impact adherence by these facilities shall be developed and approved by LAC for implementation. There shall be no privately-run facilities such as catering, etc., inside the core or critical tiger habitat where night stay is permitted. Such existing facilities if any, are to be run by the Tiger Conservation Foundations.
- In context of directives by Hon’ble Apex Courtdated 25.11.2005in I.A. No.1220 (Interim Report of CEC in LA. No. 548) and LA. No. 994 in W.P.C. No. 202/1995, an Advisory was issued by this Authority vide letter No. 1-16/93-PT (Part-I) Dated the 12th August, 2010 for not using patrolling camps / chowkis / watch towers inside a Tiger Reserve (Core as well as Buffer) for accommodating tourists or facilitating tourism.
- Core Areas of Tiger Reserves are mainly constituted of National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, where the proviso under Section 33 (a) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 is applicable as below;
Provided that no construction of commercial tourist lodges, hotels, zoos and safari parks shall be undertaken inside a Sanctuary except with the prior approval of the National Board.
- In LA. No. 2354-2355 in W.P. (Civil) No. 202/1995 TON. Godavarman Thirumulpad vs. Union of India and OR’s. decided on 05-07-2018, Hon’ble Supreme Court has directed as below;
Forest Rest Houses / Inspection Bungalows located within the forest area including the Protected Areas shall not be transferred to private and commercial entities in the name of public— private partnership or by whatever name such an arrangement is called, for promotion of any form of tourism including Ecotourism.
Above directions have been re-iterated by F.NO 12-17/2016-NTCA dated 18.07.2018 of this Authority also.
Bijrani Forest Rest House in Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve
In view of compliance of above provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Guidelines of this Authority and directions of Hon’ble Apex Court, you are requested to furnish the details of permanent tourism facilities (Night Stay) available inside the Core Areas of Tiger Reserves, extent of phasing out done so far after the aforesaid guidelines of 2012 by this Authority and timeline in which these permanent tourism facilities will be phased out completely from Tiger Reserves at earliest.
Sultan Forest Rest House in Dhikala zone of Corbett National Park
It is named after Sultan Sot (local seasonal stream) which flows through this region. With only 2 double bedrooms Sultan Forest lodge is one of the smallest rest house in Dhikala zone of corbett national park.