Dehradun, November 14
The volume of tourism business at the Corbett Tiger Reserve has come down by more than half after a high court order banned night stay at the forest rest houses and restricted movement of vehicles in the reserve area, local traders said.
“A large number of booking have been cancelled after the Uttarakhand High Court banned night stay in the forest rest houses in different zones of the reserve including Dhara, Jhirna, Dhela, Bijrani and Dhikala. This has caused substantial loss of revenue to the reserve, which is extremely popular among tourists not only from across the country but also from abroad,” said CTR’s Director Rahul.
He said the Dhikala zone of the reserve was going to open on Thursday but the usual excitement was not there as there will be no night stay at the forest and the number of Gypsies engaged for safaris in the zone has also been severely restricted.
Local tourism traders are upset with a large number of bookings being cancelled and visitors preferring to go to other tiger reserves in the country, he said.
Kiran Sagar, General Manager of a resort in Sitabani which falls in the buffer zone of Corbett, said the volume of tourism related business at the reserve has recorded a fall of about 50 to 60 per cent.
After the high court ban not more than 20 Gypsies can ply in the zone in a day, he said.
A huge number of bookings have been cancelled and visitors are making a beeline to Ranthambore, Kanha and Bandhavgarh tiger reserves, said Sagar, who is also an avid bird watcher.
Retired warden of Corbett Satish Chandra Upadhyay, who now runs a homestay facility in Semal Khaliya village, said the state government should file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a review of the high court ban on night stay in forest rest houses and restriction on the number of vehicles plying on its zones.
In an order dated August 10, a division bench of the Uttarakhand High Court had said, “We are of the view that no tourist should be permitted to stay overnight in national parks, protected forests and reserve forests in order to protect wildlife.” In an earlier order the same bench of the court had restricted the number of vehicles entering different zones in the reserve in a day to a 100. PTI
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